Abstract

Stress corrosion cracking may occur when chloride-bearing salts deposit and deliquesce on the external surface of stainless steel spent nuclear fuel storage canisters at weld regions with high residual stresses. Although it has not yet been observed, this phenomenon leads to a confinement concern for these canisters due to its potential for radioactive materials breaching through the containment system boundary provided by the canister wall during extended storage. The tests for crack growth rate have been conducted on bolt-load compact tension specimens in a setup designed to allow initially dried salt deposits to deliquesce and infuse to the crack front under conditions relevant to the canister storage environments (e.g., temperature and humidity). The test and characterization protocols are performed to provide bounding conditions in which cracking will occur. The results after 2- and 6-month exposure are examined in relation to previous studies in condensed brine and compared with other experimental data in the open literature. The knowledge gained from bolt-load compact tension testing is being applied to a large plate cut from a mockup commercial spent nuclear fuel canister to demonstrate the crack growth behavior induced from starter cracks machined in regions where the welding residual stress is expected. All these tests are conducted to support the technical basis for ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Section XI Code Case N-860.

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