In previous corrosion studies, carbon steels, especially the fine-grained steel TStE355, were identified as promising materials for heat-generating nuclear waste containers acting as a barrier in a rock-salt repository. In the present study detailed investigations have been performed on fine-grained steel to determine the influence of important parameters on its corrosion behaviour in disposal-relevant salt brines. These parameters are: brine composition (Mg Cl2-rich and NaCI-rich brines), temperature (90°C, 170°C), and salt impurities, such as H2S concentrations of 25 mg/I-200 mg/I salt brine.
Under the conditions of the tests used here, carbon steel was subjected to general corrosion. Pitting and crevice corrosion or stress-corrosion cracking were not observed. The increase in temperature from 90°C to 170°C strongly enhanced the corrosion rate of the steel. In the MgCl2-rich brines, considerably higher rates (37-70 μm/a at 90°C, 200-300 °m/a at 170°C) were observed than in the NaCI-rich brine (5 μm/a at 90°C, 46 μm/a at 170°C). H2S concentrations in the MgCl2-rich Qbrine of up to 200 mg/l did not influence significantly the corrosion rate of the steel. The corrosion rates determined imply corrosion allowances that are technically acceptable for thick-walled containers. In view of these results, fine-grained steel continues to be considered as a promising material for long-lived HLW containers.