The US plan for high-level nuclear waste includes the immobilization of long-lived radionuclides in glass or ceramic waste forms in stainless-steel canisters for disposal in deep geological repositories. Here we report that, under simulated repository conditions, corrosion could be significantly accelerated at the interfaces of different barrier materials, which has not been considered in the current safety and performance assessment models. Severe localized corrosion was found at the interfaces between stainless steel and a model nuclear waste glass and between stainless steel and a ceramic waste form. The accelerated corrosion can be attributed to changes of solution chemistry and local acidity/alkalinity within a confined space, which significantly alter the corrosion of both the waste-form materials and the metallic canisters. The corrosion that is accelerated by the interface interaction between dissimilar materials could profoundly impact the service life of the nuclear waste packages, which, therefore, should be carefully considered when evaluating the performance of waste forms and their packages. Moreover, compatible barriers should be selected to further optimize the performance of the geological repository system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering