In situ evaluation of model copper-cast iron canisters for spent nuclear fuel: A case of microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC)
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2014

© 2014 AMEC Nuclear UK Limited. The Swedish method for disposal of spent nuclear fuel in a deep geological repository (KBS-3) relies on the stability of the granitic bed-rock and two engineered barriers: a copper-cast iron canister and highly compacted bentonite clay. In order to develop a better understanding of the internal corrosion processes that could take place if a leak were to occur in the outer copper canister, five miniaturised copper cast iron canisters were installed at a depth of 450 m at the ä spö Hard Rock Laboratory, in Sweden. The experiments differed in the density of the surrounding bentonite buffer, as well as in the number and position of leak points that were introduced in the copper shell. Several electrochemical techniques (e.g. AC impedance, linear polarisation resistance and electrochemical noise) were used to monitor the corrosion of different components of the experiment. Copper specimens were installed for post-test evaluation of the rate of general corrosion, localised corrosion and stress corrosion cracking (SCC). In addition, mechanical and environmental parameters, such as surface strain, hydrostatic pressure, redox potential, pH, water chemistry, dissolved gases, and microbial numbers, diversity, and activity were measured regularly. After five years of in situ exposure one of the canisters was retrieved and analysed to characterise and evaluate the corrosion processes that had occurred during the experiment. Extensive sulphide production by sulphate reducing bacteria led to rapid corrosion of iron, and the formation of iron sulphide deposits on the copper and iron electrodes disturbed the electrochemical measurements. This paper describes the various analyses that were carried out on the model canister and summarises the conclusions that can be drawn.



Spent nuclear fuel

Radioactive waste disposal


Sulphate reducing bacteria

Microbiologically influenced corrosion

In situ testing


N.R. Smart

A.P. Rance

B.P. Reddy

Lotta Hallbeck

Karsten Pedersen

A.J. Johansson

Corrosion Engineering Science and Technology

1478-422X (ISSN)

Vol. 49 6 548-553





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