Emily Siska

Emily Siska preparing a resistive heated DAC

Emily Siska preparing a resistive heated DAC

UNLV Chemistry Department
PhD Student, 2nd Year
B.S. Chemistry (UNLV, 2012)


The Development of Novel Wasteforms for the Long Term Storage of Nuclear Waste using High Pressure and Temperature

As the world looks more to nuclear power as a sustainable energy source, the long term storage of its waste products has become a growing concern. Radionuclides produced by the irradiation of nuclear fuel rods can emit dangerous levels of radiation for thousands of years. This project focuses on developing novel wasteform materials that are likely to be stable for the lifetime of these radionuclides. A class of mineral, zeolites, have shown potential to be stable Wasteforms. Insertion of radionuclides will be attempted using high pressure and temperature. Pressure in induced using diamond anvil cells (DACs) and in situ heating is done by a resistive heater located inside the DAC. X-ray diffraction is performed on the sample to see small structural changes that could indicate insertion. Experiments are conducted using high energy photon beams at synchrotron sources across the country including the Advanced Photon Source, APS at Argonne National Laboratory, ANL and the Advanced Light Source. This work is made possible by the support of the High Pressure Science and Engineering Center (HiPSEC) at UNLV.


Presentations, Publications and Awards


  • X-ray Laue Diffraction Mictrscopy: A tool for 3D characterization of polycrystalline materials, 16 National School on Neutron and X-Ray Scattering, June 14-28 2014, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge TN
  • Novel Radionuclide Wasteforms Prepared Under Pressure, Workshop on High-Pressure Time-Resolved Synchrotron Techniques, September 25-27 2014, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne IL
  • Malcolm F. Nicol Graduate Scholar, High Pressure Science and Engineering Center (HiPSEC), UNLV Sept 2014 – Present Las Vegas, NV USA


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