Nuclear Technology / Volume 170 / Number 1 / April 2010 / Pages 210-218
Technical Paper / Special Issue on the 2008 International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants / Materials for Nuclear Systems
In case of in-vessel corium retention during a severe accident in a light water reactor, weakening of the vessel wall and deterioration of the vessel steel properties can be caused both by the melting of the steel and by its physicochemical interaction with corium. The interaction behavior has been studied in medium-scale experiments with prototypic corium. The experiments yielded data for the steel corrosion rate during interaction with UO2+X-ZrO2-FeOy melt in air and steam at different steel surface temperatures and heat fluxes from the corium to the steel. It has been observed that the corrosion rates in air and steam atmosphere are almost the same. Further, if the temperature at the interface increases beyond a certain level, corrosion intensifies. This is explained by the formation of liquid phases in the interaction zone. The available experimental data have been used to develop a correlation for the corrosion rate as a function of temperature and heat flux.