Evaluation of Pad 18 Spent Mercury Gold Trap Stainless Steel Container Failure
Failure of the Pad 18 spent mercury gold trap stainless steel waste container is principally attributed to corrosion induced by degradation of plasticized polyvinyl chloride (pPVC) waste packaging material. Dehydrochlorination of pPVC polymer by thermal and/or radiolytic degradation is well-known to evolve HCl gas, which is highly corrosive to stainless steel and other metals in the presence of moisture. Degradation of the pPVC packaging material was likely caused by radiolysis in the presence of tritium gas within the waste container, though other degradation mechanisms (aging, thermo-oxidation, plasticizer migration) over 30 years storage may have contributed. Corrosion was also likely enhanced by the crevice in the container weld design and may have been enhanced by the presence of tritiated water. Similar non-failed spent mercury gold trap waste containers did not show radiographic evidence of plastic packaging or trapped free liquid within the container. Therefore, those containers are not expected to exhibit similar failures. Halogenated polymers such as pPVC subject to degradation can evolve halide gases such as HCl, which is corrosive in the presence of moisture and can generate pressure in sealed systems.
- Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States). Savannah River National Lab. (SRNL)
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- Resource Type:
- Technical Report
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- Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
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- Country of Publication:
- United States
- 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES
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