Assessment of nitrogen as an atmosphere for dry storage of spent LWR fuel

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Interim dry storage of spent light-water reactor (LWR) fuel is being developed as a licensed technology in the United States. Because it is anticipated that license agreements will specify dry storage atmospheres, the behavior of spent LWR fuel in a nitrogen atmosphere during dry storage was investigated. In particular, the thermodynamics of reaction of nitrogen compounds (expected to form in the cover gas during dry storage) and residual impurities (such as moisture and oxygen) with Zircaloy cladding and with spent fuel at sites of cladding breaches were examined. The kinetics of reaction were not considered it was assumed that the ... continued below

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Gilbert, E.R.; Knox, C.A. & White, G.D. September 1, 1985.

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Description

Interim dry storage of spent light-water reactor (LWR) fuel is being developed as a licensed technology in the United States. Because it is anticipated that license agreements will specify dry storage atmospheres, the behavior of spent LWR fuel in a nitrogen atmosphere during dry storage was investigated. In particular, the thermodynamics of reaction of nitrogen compounds (expected to form in the cover gas during dry storage) and residual impurities (such as moisture and oxygen) with Zircaloy cladding and with spent fuel at sites of cladding breaches were examined. The kinetics of reaction were not considered it was assumed that the 20 to 40 years of interim dry storage would be sufficient for reactions to proceed to completion. The primary thermodynamics reactants were found to be NO/sub 2/, N/sub 2/O, H/sub 2/O/sub 2/, and O/sub 2/. The evaluation revealed that the limited inventories of these reactants produced by the source terms in hermetically sealed dry storage systems would be too low to cause significant spent fuel degradation. Furthermore, the oxidation of spent fuel to degrading O/U ratios is unlikely because the oxidation potential in moist nitrogen limits O/U ratios to values less than UO/sub 2.006/ (the equilibrium stoichiometric form in equilibrium with moist nitrogen). Tests were performed with bare spent UO/sub 2/ fuel and nonirradiated UO/sub 2/ pellets (with no Zircaloy cladding) in a nitrogen atmosphere containing moisture concentrations greater than encountered under dry storage conditions. These tests were performed for at least 1100 h at temperatures as high as 380/sup 0/C, where oxidation reactions proceed in a matter of minutes. No visible degradation was detected, and weight changes were negligible.

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NTIS, PC A04/MF A01.

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  • Other: DE86001944
  • Report No.: PNL-5569
  • Grant Number: AC06-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/5188924 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 5188924
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1059452

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  • September 1, 1985

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Jan. 22, 2018, 7:23 a.m.

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  • April 19, 2018, 8:04 p.m.

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Gilbert, E.R.; Knox, C.A. & White, G.D. Assessment of nitrogen as an atmosphere for dry storage of spent LWR fuel, report, September 1, 1985; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1059452/: accessed October 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.