Remote automatic plasma arc-closure welding of a dry-storage canister for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste
Description: A carbon steel storage canister has been designed for the dry encapsulation of spent nuclear fuel assemblies or of logs of vitrified high level radioactive waste. The canister design is in conformance with the requirements of the ASME Code, Section III, Division 1 for a Class 3 vessel. The canisters will be loaded and sealed as part of a completely remote process sequence to be performed in the hot bay of an experimental encapsulation facility at the Nevada Test Site. The final closure to be made is a full penetration butt weld between the canister body, a 12.75-in O.D. x 0.25-in wall pipe, and a mating semiellipsoidal closure lid. Due to a combination of design, application and facility constraints, the closure weld must be made in the 2G position (canister vertical). The plasma arc welding system is described, and the final welding procedure is described and discussed in detail. Several aspects and results of the procedure development activity, which are of both specific and general interest, are highlighted; these include: The critical welding torch features which must be exactly controlled to permit reproducible energy input to, and gas stream interaction with, the weld puddle. A comparison of results using automatic arc voltage control with those obtained using a mechanically fixed initial arc gap. The optimization of a keyhole initiation procedure. A comparison of results using an autogenous keyhole closure procedure with those obtained using a filler metal addition. The sensitivity of the welding process and procedure to variations in joint configuration and dimensions and to variations in base metal chemistry. Finally, the advantages and disadvantages of the plasma arc process for this application are summarized from the current viewpoint, and the applicability of this process to other similar applications is briefly indicated.
Date: December 31, 1982
Creator: Sprecace, R.P. & Blankenship, W.P.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department