A repository for low and intermediate level radioactive wastes will contain a great deal of carbon steel as reinforcement materials and waste containers. These steel components are expected to generate hydrogen gas due to reductive corrosion of carbon steel under repository condition. In this study, we have investigated the influence of the environmental factors such as oxygen concentration and pH in the solution on the rate of the gas generation. This rate was measured with a gas flow type test system under the controlled oxygen concentration, which simulates the redox conditions from initial to final environment in a repository. In addition, the corrosion mechanism was examined through the electrochemical tests.
As a result, it has been found that pH in the solution and the oxygen concentration considerably affected the generation rate of hydrogen gas in various way. As to the influence of pH of the solution, it has been found that the gas generation rate increased with the increase of pH between 11.8 and 14. Further, as to the influence of the oxygen concentration, when the oxygen concentration in the blowing nitrogen gas was 2 ppm or more, the gas generation rate increased with the oxygen concentration. This trend was possibly caused by local decrease of pH due to localized corrosion. The gas generation rate was very low when the oxygen concentration was in the passive region. The rate was equal to 0.01 μm/y or less if the corrosion occurs with an equation: 3Fe+4H2O → Fe3O4 + 4H2 ↑ to 0.01 *m imcro;/y (hereafter we call this the equivalent corrosion rate). However the gas generation rate increased when the oxygen concentration was controlled to the extent that sufficient passive film cannot be produced and thus it shifts from passive state to active state.