Release and speciation of carbon from Zircaloy-4 in anaerobic and highly alkaline conditions: Comparison of simple immersion and potentiostatic corrosion tests

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Abstract

The gas release and speciation of carbon species from irradiated and unirradiated Zircaloy-4 samples, representative for the fuel cladding as used in Belgian nuclear power plants, were studied in a saturated Ca(OH)2 solution in anaerobic conditions. This environment is relevant for the Belgian Supercontainer design, as perceived for the geological disposal of high-level nuclear waste. To achieve this, we performed simple immersion and potentiostatic corrosion tests. Potentiodynamic polarization curves, recorded prior to the potentiostatic tests, revealed that irradiation seems to induce changes on the Zircaloy-4 corrosion behavior, such as a shift of the corrosion potential. Potentiostatic corrosion tests on unirradiated Zircaloy-4 provided a corrosion rate of ~54 nm/yr over a 7 day-experiment, whilst a corrosion rate of only ~4 nm/yr was calculated for the irradiated sample. Gas chromatography revealed that during simple immersion tests, which lasted 195 days, hydrogen, methane, ethane, and CO2 were produced, with methane being the major compound. Assuming that all carbon released from the metal was transformed into gaseous compounds, this yields to a corrosion rate ranging from 57 to 84 nm/yr for the irradiated sample. However, caution has to be taken on these corrosion rate and more tests should be performed to confirm these results.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1787–1796
Number of pages10
JournalRadiocarbon
Volume60
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Event2018 - CAST Final Symposium - Lyon, France

Keywords

  • carbon speciation, corrosion, electrochemical measurements, gas chromatography, geological disposal, Zircaloy-4

ID: 5291679