Asphaltene or Polyvinylchloride Waste Blended with Cement to Produce a Sustainable Material Used in Nuclear Safety

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The current research uses sustainable methods to preserve the environment, such as exploiting municipal or industrial waste that may harm the environment. The wreckage of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes and asphaltene are used as additives to cement to improve its mechanical properties, while stabilizing the radioactive waste resulting from the peaceful uses of nuclear materials, or enhancing its radiation shielding efficiency. New composites of Portland cement with ground PVC or asphaltene up to 50% are investigated. Fast neutron removal cross-section (ƩR) and gamma shielding parameters, such as mass attenuation coefficient (MAC), half-value layer (HVL), effective atomic number (Zeff), and exposure build-up factor (EBF) at wide energy range and thickness, are determined. The compressive strength and apparent porosity of the examined composites are examined to test the durability of the prepared composites as stabilizers for radioactive waste. The obtained results show that the bulk density of hardened cementitious composites was slightly increased by increasing the additive amount of PVC or asphaltene. The compressive strength of cement composites reached more than 4.5 MP at 50 wt.% PVC and 8.8 MPa at 50 wt.% asphaltene. These values are significantly higher than those recommended by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (3.4 MPa). Additionally, the obtained results demonstrate that although the gamma MAC is slightly decreased by adding asphaltene or PVC, the neutron removal cross-section was highly increased, reaching 171% in the case of 50 wt.% asphaltene and 304% in the case of 50 wt.% PVC. We can conclude that cement composites with PVC or asphaltene have optimized radiation shielding properties and can stabilize radioactive waste.