Standard Guide for Corrosion Testing of Aluminum-Based Spent Nuclear Fuel in Support of Repository Disposal
|Publication Date:||10 June 1999|
|ICS Code (Fissile materials and nuclear fuel technology):||27.120.30|
1.1 This guide covers corrosion testing of aluminum-based spent nuclear fuel in support of geologic repository disposal (per the requirements in 10 CFR 60 and 40CFR191). The testing described in this document is designed to provide data for analysis of the chemical stability and radionuclide release behavior of aluminum-based waste forms produced from aluminum-based spent nuclear fuels. The data and analyses from the corrosion testing will support the technical basis for inclusion of aluminum-based spent nuclear fuels in the repository source term. Interim storage and transportation of the spent fuel will precede geologic disposal; therefore, reference is also made to the requirements for interim storage (per 10 CFR 72) and transportation (per 10 CFR 71). The analyses that will be based on the data developed are also necessary to support the safety analyses reports (SARs) and performance assessments (PAs) for disposal systems.
1.2 Spent nuclear fuel that is not reprocessed must be safely managed prior to transportation to, and disposal in, a geologic repository. Placement is an interim storage facility may include direct placement of the irradiated fuel or treatment of the fuel prior to placement, or both. The aluminum-based waste forms may be required to be ready for geologic disposal, or road ready, prior to placement in extended interim storage. Interim storage facilities, in the United States, handle fuel from civilian commercial power reactors, defense nuclear materials production reactors, and research reactors. The research reactors include both foreign and domestic reactors. The aluminum-based fuels in the spent fuel inventory in the United States are primarily from defense reactors and from foreign and domestic research reactors. The aluminum-based spent fuel inventory includes several different fuel forms and levels of 235U enrichment. Highly enriched fuels (235U enrichment levels > 20 %) are part of this inventory.
1.3 Knowledge of the corrosion behavior of aluminum-based spent nuclear fuels is required to ensure safety and to support licensing or other approval activities, or both, necessary for disposal in a geologic repository. The response of the aluminum-based spent nuclear fuel waste form(s) to disposal environments must be established for configuration-safety
1.4 The majority of the aluminum-based spent nuclear fuels are aluminum clad, aluminum-uranium alloys. The aluminum-uranium alloy typically consists of uranium aluminide particles dispersed in an aluminum matrix. Other aluminum-based fuels include dispersions of uranium oxide, uranium silicide, or uranium carbide particles in an aluminum matrix. These particles, including the aluminides, are generally cathodic to the aluminum matrix. Selective leaching of the aluminum in the exposure environment may provide a mechanism for redistribution and relocation of the uranium-rich particles. Particle redistribution tendencies will depend on the nature of the aluminum corrosion processes and the size, shape, distribution and relative reactivity of the uranium-rich particles. Interpretation of test data will require an understanding of the material behavior. This understanding will enable evaluation of the design and configuration of the waste package to ensure that unfilled regions in the waste package do not provide sites for the relocation of the uranium-rich particles into nuclear critical configurations. Test samples must be evaluated, prior to testing, to ensure that the size and shape of the uranium-rich particles in the test samples are representative of the particles in the waste form being evaluated.
1.5 The use of the data obtained by the testing described in this guide will be optimized to the extent the samples mimic the condition of the waste form during actual repository exposure. The use of Practice C 1174 is recommended for guidance. The selection of test samples, which may be unaged or artificially aged, should ensure that the test samples and conditions bound the waste form/repository conditions. The test procedures should carefully describe any artificial aging treatment used in the test program and explain why that treatment was selected.