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Natural zeolite has a high ion exchange capacity and a particular affinity for heavy metal cations. It can absorb elements such as strontium 90, caesium 137 and other radioactive isotopes from solution and hold them in its 3 dimensional crystal framework. Zeolites react readily with cement and glass systems thus allowing the radioactive waste to be entrapped and contained safely. Zeolites are physically robust and resistant to nuclear degradation, and they are less expensive than organic ion exchange resins.

Sorbent Barriers For Radioactive Waste

Permeable barriers incorporate sorbent materials, including zeolite, to selectively contain contaminants that are percolating from shallow land burial sites of low-level radioactive waste. The zeolites are combined with clays and other materials that retard the migration of leachate for a period long enough to allow exchange and/or decay of radioactive ions.

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