Description: Concern has been expressed that hydrogen produced by corrosion, radiolysis, and decomposition of the waste could cause embrittlement of the carbon steel waste tanks at Hanford. The concern centers on the supposition that the hydrogen evolved in many of the existing tanks might penetrate the steel wall of the tank and cause embrittlement that might lead to catastrophic failure. This document reviews literature on the effects of hydrogen on the carbon steel proposed for use in the Multi-Function Waste Tank Facility for the time periods before and during construction as well as for the operational life of the tanks. The document draws several conclusions about these effects. Molecular hydrogen is not a concern because it is not capable of entering the steel tank wall. Nascent hydrogen produced by corrosion reactions will not embrittle the steel because the mild steel used in tank construction is not hard enough to be susceptible to hydrogen stress cracking and the corrosion product hydrogen is not produced at a rate sufficient to cause either loss in tensile ductility or blistering. If the steel intended for use in the tanks is produced to current technology, fabricated in accordance with good construction practice, postweld heat treated, and operated within the operating limits defined, hydrogen will not adversely affect the carbon steel tanks during their 50-year design life. 26 refs.
Date: February 8, 1995
Creator: Carlos, W.C.
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