The Influence of the In-Situ Clad Staining on the Corrosion of Zircaloy in PWR Water Environment

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Zircaloy cladding tubes strain in-situ during service life in the corrosive environment of a Pressurized Water Reactor for a variety of reasons. First, the tube undergoes stress free growth due to the preferential alignment of irradiation induced vacancy loops on basal planes. Positive strains develop in the textured tubes along prism orientations while negative strains develop along basal orientations (Reference (a)). Second, early in life, free standing tubes will often shrink by creep in the diametrical direction under the external pressure of the water environment, but potentially grow later in life in the diametrical direction once the expanding fuel pellet ... continued below

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46 pg/2,411 Kb

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Kammenzind, B.F., Eklund, K.L. and Bajaj, R. June 21, 2001.

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  • Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory
    Publisher Info: Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory (BAPL), West Mifflin, PA
    Place of Publication: West Mifflin, Pennsylvania

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Description

Zircaloy cladding tubes strain in-situ during service life in the corrosive environment of a Pressurized Water Reactor for a variety of reasons. First, the tube undergoes stress free growth due to the preferential alignment of irradiation induced vacancy loops on basal planes. Positive strains develop in the textured tubes along prism orientations while negative strains develop along basal orientations (Reference (a)). Second, early in life, free standing tubes will often shrink by creep in the diametrical direction under the external pressure of the water environment, but potentially grow later in life in the diametrical direction once the expanding fuel pellet contacts the cladding inner wall (Reference (b)). Finally, the Zircaloy cladding absorbs hydrogen as a by product of the corrosion reaction (Reference (c)). Once above the solubility limit in Zircaloy, the hydride precipitates as zirconium hydride (References (c) through (j)). Both hydrogen in solid solution and precipitated as Zirconium hydride cause a volume expansion of the Zircaloy metal (Reference (k)). Few studies are reported on that have investigated the influence that in-situ clad straining has on corrosion of Zircaloy. If Zircaloy corrosion rates are governed by diffusion of anions through a thin passivating boundary layer at the oxide-to-metal interface (References (l) through (n)), in-situ straining of the cladding could accelerate the corrosion process by prematurely breaking that passivating oxide boundary layer. References (o) through (q) investigated the influence that an applied tensile stress has on the corrosion resistance of Zircaloy. Knights and Perkins, Reference (o), reported that the applied tensile stress increased corrosion rates above a critical stress level in 400 C and 475 C steam, but not at lower temperatures nor in dry oxygen environments. This latter observation suggested that hydrogen either in the oxide or at the oxide-to-metal interface is involved in the observed stress effect. Kim et al. (Reference (p)) and Kim and Kim (Reference (q)) more recently investigated the influence that an applied hoop stress has on the corrosion resistance of Zircaloy tubes in a 400 C steam and in a 350 C concentrated lithia water environment. Both of these studies found the applied tensile hoop stress to have no effect on cladding corrosion rates in the 400 C steam environment but to have accelerated corrosion in the lithiated water environment. In both cases, the corrosion acceleration in the lithiated water environment was attributed to the accumulation of the increased hydrogen picked up in the lithiated environment into the tensile regions of the test specimen. Dense hydride rims have been shown, independent of clad strain, to accelerate the corrosion of Zirconium alloys (References (r) and (s)), suggesting that the primary effect of applied stresses on the corrosion of Zircaloy in the above studies is through the accumulation of hydrogen at the oxide-to-metal interface and not through a direct mechanical breakdown of the passivating boundary layer. To further investigate the potential role of in-situ clad straining (or stress) on Zircaloy corrosion rates, two experimental studies were performed. First, several samples that were irradiated with and without an applied stress were destructively examined for the extent of corrosion occurring in strained and nonstrained regions of the test samples. The extent of corrosion was determined, posttest, by metallographic examination. Second, the corrosion process was monitored in-situ using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy on samples exposed out-of-reactor with and without an applied stress. Post test, these autoclave samples were also metallographically examined.

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46 pg/2,411 Kb

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  • Report No.: B-T-3352
  • Grant Number: AC11-98PN38206
  • DOI: 10.2172/938979 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 938979
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc902907

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  • June 21, 2001

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Feb. 20, 2017, 2:54 p.m.

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Kammenzind, B.F., Eklund, K.L. and Bajaj, R. The Influence of the In-Situ Clad Staining on the Corrosion of Zircaloy in PWR Water Environment, report, June 21, 2001; West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc902907/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.