Corrosion tests in water of fuel elements irradiated in the world's first NPP reactor
Sergey N. Ivanov, Sergey I. Porollo, Yury D. Baranaev, Vladimir F. Timofeev, Yury V. Kharizomenov
Nuclear Energy and Technology
Spent nuclear fuel (SNF) storage in reactor spent fuel pools (SFP) is one of the crucial stages of SNF management technology: it requires special measures to ensure nuclear and radiation safety. During long-term storage in water-filled SFPs, leak-tight canisters in which SFAs are usually placed can become unsealed, which will result in the development of corrosion processes in the fuel element (FE) claddings. We studied fragments of spent fuel elements of the AM reactor of the World's First NPP
... during their long exposure in the aqueous medium. The aim of the study was to obtain experimental data on the corrosion changes in the FE claddings and fuel composition during storage as well as on the release of radioactive fission products from them. For the study, a laboratory facility for exposing fuel elements in the water was developed and experimental fragments of fuel elements were made. The study was carried out in the hot chamber of the SSC RF-IPPE. The change in the activity of the water was estimated by the γ-dose rate from the selected water sample. The diameter measurements and metallographic studies were carried out in various sections of FE fragments. Corrosion tests were carried out on fragments of spent fuel elements of the AM reactor of the World's First NPP that were stored for a long time (more than 50 years – FEs with U-Mo fuel and ~ 20 years – FEs with UO2 fuel) using standard technology – first in SFP canisters filled with water and then in dry canisters in the air. Placing the fuel elements in the water did not lead to through damage to the FE claddings and a significant change in the size (diameter) of the outer cladding. Metallographic studies of the FE fragments after the corrosion tests showed the presence of intergranular and local frontal corrosion on the surface of the claddings, the depth of which exceeded the depth of the cladding corrosion defects before testing. The rate of radionuclide release from the fuel composition was estimated by the γ-dose rate of water samples taken from the glasses with FE fragments. Throughout the test period, the dose rate of water samples from the glasses with defect-free FEs remained constant. The dose rate from water samples taken from the glasses with the FE fragments with an artificial defect grew during storage.