Technischer Bericht NTB 84-19

Behältermaterialien für die Endlagerung hochradioaktiver Abfälle:Korrosionschemische Aspekte

Prior to disposal in crystalline formations it is planned to enclose vitrified highly radioactive waste from nuclear power plants in metallic containers ensuring their isolation from the groundwater for at least 1'000 years. Appropriate metals can be either thermodynamically stable in the repository environment (such as copper), passive materials with very low corrosion rates (titanium, nickel alloys), or metals such as cast iron or unalloyed cast steels which, although they corrode, can be used in sections thick enough to allow for this corrosion.

The first part of the report presents the essentials of corrosion science in order to enable even a non-specialist to follow the considerations and arguments necessary to choose the material and design the container against corrosion. Following this, the principles of the long-term extrapolation of corrosion behaviour are discussed.

The second part summarizes and comments upon the literature search carried out to identify published results relevant to corrosion in a repository environment. Results of archeaological studies are included wherever possible. Not only the general corrosion behaviour but also localized corrosion and stress corrosion cracking are considered, and the influence of hydrogen on the material behaviour is discussed.

Taking the corrosion behaviour as criterion, the author suggests the use either of copper or of cast iron or steel as an appropriate container material. The report concludes with propasals for further studies.