2015-2016 Fulbright-VTT Scholar Anton Schindler: Development of Durable Infrastructure for the Long-Term Storage of Waste Nuclear Fuel

A major 21st century challenge for the United States and other counties is the development of durable infrastructure for the permanent storage of waste from nuclear power plants. The U.S. has not found a permanent geologic repository for waste nuclear fuel, whereas Finland is the first country in the world to start construction of a waste nuclear fuel repository.  Finland is thus a world leader in the design and development of nuclear waste repositories making it the ideal country for my Fulbright reserach. 

During my 4.5-month Fulbright-VTT Grant in Science, Technology and Innovation, I have been collaborating with researchers from the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland in Espoo to develop and test low-pH concrete developed specifically for use in a waste nuclear fuel repository.  Low-pH concrete must be developed that is constructible, very durable, and compatible with the environment in an underground waste repository. We developed a testing program to evaluate and develop means to test and minimize the autogenous shrinkage of low pH-concrete.  We also conducted many tests in VTT’s Advanced Cementitious Materials and Nanostructures Laboratory.

I anticipate that the relationships forged with Finnish researchers combined with the knowledge I gained during my Fulbright term will allow us to collaborate in the near future to make a significant contribution to the design and construction of a nuclear waste repository in the U.S.

Text: Anton K. Schindler, Ph.D., P.E. 2015-2016 Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor at VTT Technical Research Center of Finland