Corrosion behavior is a key issue in the assessment of disposal performance for activated waste such as spent fuel assemblies (i.e., hulls and end-pieces) because corrosion is expected to initiate radionuclide (e.g., C-14) leaching from such waste. Because the anticipated corrosion rate is extremely low, understanding and modeling Zircaloy (Zry) corrosion behavior under geological disposal conditions is important in predicting very long-term corrosion. Corrosion models applicable in the higher temperature ranges of nuclear reactors have been proposed based on considerable testing in the 523−633 K temperature range.
In this study, corrosion tests were carried out to confirm the applicability of such existing models to the low temperature range of geological disposal, and to examine the influence of material, environmental, and other factors on corrosion rates under geological disposal conditions. A characterization analysis of the generated oxide film was also performed.
To confirm applicability, the corrosion rate of Zry-4 in pure water with a temperature change from 303 K to 433 K was obtained using a hydrogen measuring technique, giving a corrosion rate for 180 days of 8 × 10-3 μm/y at 303 K.
To investigate the influence of various factors, corrosion tests were carried out. The corrosion rates for Zry-2 and Zry-4 were almost same, and increased with a temperature increase from 303 K to 353 K. The influence of pH (12.5) compared with pure water was about 1.4 at 180 days at 303 K.