United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Interaction of Zinc Vapor with Zircaloy and the Effect of Zinc Vapor on the Mechanical Properties of Zircaloy (NUREG/CR-6675)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: May 2000
Date Published: June 2000

Prepared by:
R.J. Schaefer, RJ. Fields, M.E. Williams

National Institute of Standards and Technology
Gaithersburg, MD 20899

C. Santos, Jr., NRC Project Manager

Prepared for:
Division of Engineering Technology
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

NRC Job Code Y6212

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Abstract

Spent fuel rods removed from reactor cores are loaded under water into steel casks, which are then removed from the water, vacuum dried, and welded closed for dry storage. In some cases, the inside of the steel casks has been coated with zinc paint to prevent corrosion during the under-water phase of this process, and concern has arisen that the zinc could react with the Zircaloy-4 cladding of the spent fuel, possibly leading to decreased mechanical strength. This project investigated the kinetics of the reaction between Zircaloy-4 and zinc vapor, and the mechanical properties of Zircaloy-4 which had been exposed to zinc vapor.

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