Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2018
A detailed understanding of the response of mineral phases to the radiation fields experienced in a geological disposal facility (GDF) is currently poorly constrained. Prolongued ion irradiation has the potential to affect both the physical integrity and oxidation state of materials and therefore may alter a structure's ability to react with radionuclides. Radiohalos (spheres of radiation damage in minerals surrounding radioactive (α-emitting) inclusions) provide useful analogues for studying long term α-particle damage accumulation. In this study, silicate minerals adjacent to Th- and U-rich monazite and zircon were probed for redox changes and long/short range disorder using microfocus X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and high resolution X-ray diffraction (XRD) at Beamline I18, Diamond Light Source. Fe3+ → Fe2+ reduction has been demonstrated in an amphibole sample containing structural OH– groups – a trend not observed in anhydrous phases such as garnet. Coincident with the findings of Pattrick et al. (2013), the radiolytic breakdown of OH– groups is postulated to liberate Fe3+ reducing electrons. Across all samples, high point defect densities and minor lattice aberrations are apparent adjacent to the radioactive inclusion, demonstrated by micro-XRD.
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