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Current State of Knowledge of Water Radiolysis Effects on Spent Nuclear Fuel Corrosion

H. Christensen, S. Sunder

Nuclear Technology

Volume 131 / Number 1 / July 2000 / Pages 102-123


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Literature data on the effect of water radiolysis products on spent-fuel oxidation and dissolution are reviewed. Effects of gamma radiolysis, alpha radiolysis, and dissolved O2 or H2O2 in unirradiated solutions are discussed separately. Also, the effect of carbonate in gamma-irradiated solutions and radiolysis effects on leaching of spent fuel are reviewed. In addition, a kinetic model for calculating the corrosion rates of UO2 in solutions undergoing radiolysis is discussed. The model gives good agreement between calculated and measured corrosion rates in the case of gamma radiolysis and in unirradiated solutions containing dissolved oxygen or hydrogen peroxide. However, the model fails to predict the results of alpha radiolysis. In a recent study, it was shown that the model gave good agreement with measured corrosion rates of spent fuel exposed in deionized water. The applications of radiolysis studies for geologic disposal of used nuclear fuel are discussed.

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