skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Neutron-Absorbing Coatings for Enhanced Criticiality Safety: Long-Term Storage of Fissile Materials & Equipment for Reprocessing Spent Fuel

Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Farmer, J C, and Choi, J. Neutron-Absorbing Coatings for Enhanced Criticiality Safety: Long-Term Storage of Fissile Materials & Equipment for Reprocessing Spent Fuel. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.2172/1129154.
Farmer, J C, & Choi, J. Neutron-Absorbing Coatings for Enhanced Criticiality Safety: Long-Term Storage of Fissile Materials & Equipment for Reprocessing Spent Fuel. United States. doi:10.2172/1129154.
Farmer, J C, and Choi, J. Wed . "Neutron-Absorbing Coatings for Enhanced Criticiality Safety: Long-Term Storage of Fissile Materials & Equipment for Reprocessing Spent Fuel". United States. doi:10.2172/1129154.
title = {Neutron-Absorbing Coatings for Enhanced Criticiality Safety: Long-Term Storage of Fissile Materials & Equipment for Reprocessing Spent Fuel},
author = {Farmer, J C and Choi, J},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.2172/1129154},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Mar 07 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Wed Mar 07 00:00:00 EST 2007}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • Neutron-absorbing Fe-based amorphous-metal coatings have been developed that are more corrosion resistant than other criticality-control materials, including Al-B{sub 4}C composites, borated stainless steels, and Ni-Cr-Mo-Gd alloys. The presence of relatively high concentration of boron in these coatings not only enhances its neutron-absorption capability, but also enables these coatings to exist in the amorphous state. Exceptional corrosion resistance has been achieved with these Fe-based amorphous-metal alloys through additions of chromium, molybdenum, and tungsten. The addition of rare earth elements such as yttrium has lowered the critical cooling rate of these materials, thereby rendering them more easily processed. Containers used for themore » storage of nuclear materials, and protected from corrosion through the application of amorphous metal coatings, would have greatly enhanced service lives, and would therefore provide greater long-term safety. Amorphous alloy powders have been successfully produced in multi-ton quantities with gas atomization, and applied to several half-scale spent fuel storage containers and criticality control structures with the high-velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) thermal spray process. Salt fog testing and neutron radiography of these prototypes indicates that such an approach is viable for the production of large-scale industrial-scale facilities and containers. The use of these durable neutron-absorbing materials to coat stainless steel containers and storage racks, as well as vaults, hot-cell facilities and glove boxes could substantially reduce the risk of criticality in the event of an accident. These materials are particularly attractive for shielding applications since they are fire proof. Additionally, layers of other cold and thermal sprayed materials that include carbon and/or carbides can be used in conjunction with the high-boron amorphous metal coatings for the purpose of moderation. For example, various carbides, including boron, tungsten, and chromium carbide, as well as graphite particles can be co-deposited with a metallic binder phase with either thermal spray or cold spray technology. These moderator layers would also be fire resistant. By coating the vessels and piping used for spent fuel reprocessing, including slab and pencil tanks, enhanced criticality safety and substantially better corrosion resistance can be achieved simultaneously. Since these alloys are Fe-based, any substitution of these for high-performance Ni-based alloys is expected to result in a cost savings. Ultimately, the cost of these materials should comparable to that of stainless steels.« less
  • This report describes the analysis and modeling approaches used in the evaluation for criticality-control applications of the neutron-absorbing structural-amorphous metal (SAM) coatings. The applications of boron-containing high-performance corrosion-resistant material (HPCRM)--amorphous metal as the neutron-absorbing coatings to the metallic support structure can enhance criticality safety controls for spent nuclear fuel in baskets inside storage containers, transportation casks, and disposal containers. The use of these advanced iron-based, corrosion-resistant materials to prevent nuclear criticality in transportation, aging, and disposal containers would be extremely beneficial to the nuclear waste management programs.
  • Significant quantities of weapons-usable fissile materials (primarily plutonium and highly enriched uranium) have become surplus to national defense needs both in the US and Russia. These stocks of fissile materials pose significant dangers to national and international security. The dangers exist not only in the potential proliferation of nuclear weapons but also in the potential for environmental, safety and health consequences if surplus fissile materials are not properly managed. As announced in the Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), the Department of Energy is currently conducting an evaluation process for disposition of surplus weapons-usablemore » fissile materials determined surplus to National Security needs, and long-term storage of national security and programmatic inventories, and surplus weapons-usable fissile materials that are not able to go directly from interim storage to disposition. An extensive set of long-term storage and disposition options was compiled. Five broad long-term storage options were identified; thirty-seven options were considered for plutonium disposition; nine options were considered for HEU disposition; and eight options were identified for Uranium-233 disposition. Section 2 discusses the criteria used in the screening process. Section 3 describes the options considered, and Section 4 provides a detailed summary discussions of the screening results.« less
  • Copyright American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, PA, 19428, USA. This document is available from NTIS under license from ASTM.
  • An inexpensive boron-loaded liner of epoxy resin for fissile-material storage containers was developed that can be easily fabricated of readily available, low-cost materials. Computer calculations indicate reactivity will be reduced substantially if this neutron-absorbing liner is added to containers in a typical storage array. These calculations compare favorably with neutron-attenuation experiments with thermal and fission neutron spectra, and tests at the Fire Test Facility indicate the epoxy resin will survive extreme environmental and accident conditions. The fire-resistant and insulating properties of the epoxy-resin liner further augment its ability to protect fissile materials. Boron-loaded epoxy resin is adaptable to many tasksmore » but is particularly useful for providing enhanced criticality safety in the packaging and storage of fissile materials.« less