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Title: Results of stainless steel canister corrosion studies and environmental sample investigations

This progress report describes work being done at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) to assess the localized corrosion performance of container/cask materials used in the interim storage of used nuclear fuel. The work involves both characterization of the potential physical and chemical environment on the surface of the storage canisters and how it might evolve through time, and testing to evaluate performance of the canister materials under anticipated storage conditions. To evaluate the potential environment on the surface of the canisters, SNL is working with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to collect and analyze dust samples from the surface of in-service SNF storage canisters. In FY 13, SNL analyzed samples from the Calvert Cliffs Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI); here, results are presented for samples collected from two additional near-marine ISFSI sites, Hope Creek NJ, and Diablo Canyon CA. The Hope Creek site is located on the shores of the Delaware River within the tidal zone; the water is brackish and wave action is normally minor. The Diablo Canyon site is located on a rocky Pacific Ocean shoreline with breaking waves. Two types of samples were collected: SaltSmart™ samples, which leach the soluble salts from a known surface areamore » of the canister, and dry pad samples, which collected a surface salt and dust using a swipe method with a mildly abrasive ScotchBrite™ pad. The dry samples were used to characterize the mineralogy and texture of the soluble and insoluble components in the dust via microanalytical techniques, including mapping X-ray Fluorescence spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy. For both Hope Creek and Diablo Canyon canisters, dust loadings were much higher on the flat upper surfaces of the canisters than on the vertical sides. Maximum dust sizes collected at both sites were slightly larger than 20 μm, but Phragmites grass seeds ~1 mm in size, were observed on the tops of the Hope Creek canisters. At both sites, the surface dust could be divided into fractions generated by manufacturing processes and by natural processes. The fraction from manufacturing processes consisted of variably-oxidized angular and spherical particles of stainless steel and iron, generated by machining and welding/cutting processes, respectively. Dust from natural sources consisted largely of detrital quartz and aluminosilicates (feldspars and clays) at both sites. At Hope Creek, soluble salts were dominated by sulfates and nitrates, mostly of calcium. Chloride was a trace component and the only chloride mineral observed by SEM was NaCl. Chloride surface loads measured by the Saltsmart™ sensors were very low, less than 60 mg m–2 on the canister top, and less than 10 mg m–2 on the canister sides. At Diablo Canyon, sea-salt aggregates of NaCl and Mg-SO4, with minor K and Ca, were abundant in the dust, in some cases dominating the observed dust assemblage. Measured Saltsmart™ chloride surface loads were very low (<5 mg m–2); however, high canister surface temperatures damaged the Saltsmart™ sensors, and, in view of the SEM observations of abundant sea-salts on the package surfaces, the measured surface loads may not be valid. Moreover, the more heavily-loaded canister tops at Diablo Canyon were not sampled with the Saltsmart™ sensors. The observed low surface loads do not preclude chloride-induced stress corrosion cracking (CISCC) at either site, because (1) the measured data may not be valid for the Diablo Canyon canisters; (2) the surface coverage was not complete (for instance, the 45º offset between the outlet and inlet vents means that near-inlet areas, likely to have heavier dust and salt loads, were not sampled); and (3) CISCC has been experimentally been observed at salt loads as low as 5-8 mg/m2. Experimental efforts at SNL to assess corrosion of interim storage canister materials include three tasks in FY14. First, a full-diameter canister mockup, made using materials and techniques identical to those used to make interim storage canisters, was designed and ordered from Ranor Inc., a cask vendor for Areva/TN. The mockup will be delivered prior to the end of FY14, and will be used for evaluating weld residual stresses and degrees of sensitization for typical interim storage canister welds. Following weld characterization, the mockup will be sectioned and provided to participating organizations for corrosion testing purposes. A test plan is being developed for these efforts. In a second task, experimental work was carried out to evaluate crevice corrosion of 304SS in the presence of limited reactants, as would be present on a dustcovered storage canister. This work tests the theory that limited salt loads will limit corrosion penetration over time, and is a continuation of work carried out in FY13. Laser confocal microscopy was utilized to assess the volume and depth of corrosion pits formed during the crevice corrosion tests. Results indicate that for the duration of the current experiments (100 days), no stifling of corrosion occurred due to limitations in the amount of reactants present at three different salt loadings. Finally, work has been carried out this year perfecting an instrument for depositing sea-salts onto metal surfaces for atmospheric corrosion testing purposes. The system uses an X-Y plotter system with a commercial airbrush, and deposition is monitored with a quartz crystal microbalance. The system is capable of depositing very even salt loadings, even at very low total deposition rates.« less
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  1. Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
SAND--2014-20347 O
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Secretary of Energy (S), Office of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (AB)
Country of Publication:
United States