Lessons learned from in situ corrosion experiments in the HADES URL

Research outputpeer-review


A wide range of metals have been studied as a candidate container material to be considered in the geological disposal concept of high-level radioactive waste and spent fuel in Belgium. More than 40 years ago, SCK CEN started studies on the corrosion of these metals. The HADES underground research laboratory (URL) played an important role in the corrosion research as it enabled in situ corrosion experiments to be carried out that simulate realistic disposal conditions as closely as possible. These experiments consisted of placing metallic coupons on a steel support tube, heated from the inside, that was installed in Boom Clay, thereby exposing the coupons to various conditions representative of the disposal concept that was considered at that time. Test durations lasted from 6 months to approximately 7.5 years. This paper summarizes the results from the various corrosion studies and discusses their implications in the choice of disposal concept. One of the main outcomes of these experiments was a change of rationale regarding the choice of the container material from carbon steel (corrosion-allowance) to stainless steel (corrosion-resistant). The main arguments for this change were the need to avoid severe pitting corrosion during the aerobic period and to minimize the generation of hydrogen gas during the subsequent anaerobic period.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-130
Number of pages38
JournalGeological Society, London, Special Publications
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2023

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