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Waste container durability: monitoring of a stainless steel 4 metre box over 12 years

  • N. R. Smart (a1), R. J. Winsley (a2), P. A. H. Fennell (a1), B. Reddy (a1), A. P. Rance (a1) and C. Padovani (a1)...

Abstract

In the UK, most intermediate level radioactive waste is packaged in stainless steel containers. It is important that containers should maintain their integrity for extended periods of storage prior to final disposal. A prototype 4 metre box fabricated from 304S11 stainless steel was monitored at an inland rural building for over twelve years to gain experience in monitoring environmental conditions and corrosion during storage. A wide range of different types of aerosol particles were observed on the surfaces and in the air. They contained corrosive ions such as chloride, as well as other anions such as sulfate and nitrate. The chloride deposition rate was between 0.1 and 4 μg cm−2 yr−1 depending on the orientation and location of the surface, with a chloride/sulfate ratio ranging from ∼0.3–2. The temperature and relative humidity typically ranged from 0–30°C and 40–90%, respectively. The greatest degree of corrosion developed on the base of the box, which had elevated chloride concentrations (10–140 μg cm−2). However, there was little evidence of corrosion propagation on the surface of the box and no evidence of stress corrosion cracking. The average pit propagation rates on a 316L coupon mounted next to the 4 m box were <1 μm yr−1.

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Copyright

© [2012] The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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References

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