Some Materials Degradation Issues in the U.S. High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository Study (The Yucca Mountain Project)

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The safe disposal of radioactive waste requires that the waste be isolated from the environment until radioactive decay has reduced its toxicity to innocuous levels for plants, animals, and humans. All of the countries currently studying the options for disposing of high-level nuclear waste (HLW) have selected deep geologic formations to be the primary barrier for accomplishing this isolation. In U.S.A., the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) designated Yucca Mountain in Nevada as the potential site to be characterized for high-level nuclear waste (HLW) disposal. Long-term containment of waste and subsequent slow release of radionuclides ... continued below

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46 pages

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Hua, F.; Pasupathi, P.; Brown, N. & Mon, K. September 19, 2005.

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The safe disposal of radioactive waste requires that the waste be isolated from the environment until radioactive decay has reduced its toxicity to innocuous levels for plants, animals, and humans. All of the countries currently studying the options for disposing of high-level nuclear waste (HLW) have selected deep geologic formations to be the primary barrier for accomplishing this isolation. In U.S.A., the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (as amended in 1987) designated Yucca Mountain in Nevada as the potential site to be characterized for high-level nuclear waste (HLW) disposal. Long-term containment of waste and subsequent slow release of radionuclides into the geosphere will rely on a system of natural and engineered barriers including a robust waste containment design. The waste package design consists of a highly corrosion resistant Ni-based Alloy 22 cylindrical barrier surrounding a Type 316 stainless steel inner structural vessel. The waste package is covered by a mailbox-shaped drip shield composed primarily of Ti Grade 7 with Ti Grade 24 structural support members. The U.S. Yucca Mountain Project has been studying and modeling the degradation issues of the relevant materials for some 20 years. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art understanding of the degradation processes based on the past 20 years studies on Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) materials degradation issues with focus on interaction between the in-drift environmental conditions and long-term materials degradation of waste packages and drip shields within the repository system during the 10,000 years regulatory period. This paper provides an overview of the current understanding of the likely degradation behavior of the waste package and drip shield in the repository after the permanent closure of the facility. The degradation scenario discussed in this paper include aging and phase instability, dry oxidation, general and localized corrosion, stress corrosion cracking and hydrogen induced cracking of Alloy 22 and titanium alloys. The effects of microbial activity and radiation on degradation of Alloy 22 and titanium alloys are also discussed. Further, for titanium alloys, the effects of fluorides, bromides, calcium ions, and galvanic coupling to less noble metals are further considered. It is concluded that, as far as materials degradation is concerned, the materials and design adopted in the U.S. Yucca Mountain Project will provide sufficient safety margins within the 10,000-years regulatory period.

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46 pages

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INIS; OSTI as DE00840143

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  • Other Information: PBD: 19 Sep 2005

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  • Report No.: NONE
  • Grant Number: NONE
  • DOI: 10.2172/840143 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 840143
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc788782

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  • September 19, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Feb. 11, 2016, 1:06 p.m.

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Hua, F.; Pasupathi, P.; Brown, N. & Mon, K. Some Materials Degradation Issues in the U.S. High-Level Nuclear Waste Repository Study (The Yucca Mountain Project), report, September 19, 2005; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc788782/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.