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Nitric acid reduction on 316L stainless steel under conditions representative of reprocessing

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>ECS Transactions
Issue number21
Volume53
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)33-44
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Steels comprise the largest class of metal-based materials encountered on nuclear sites. An understanding of how process steels interact with HNO3 in spent fuel treatment plant environments is required to enable informed decisions to be made about the design and effective application of different steel types within nuclear environments. Stainless steels readily passivate in nitric acid. However, increasing the oxidising power of the media can lead to passive film dissolution, resulting in rapid transpassive corrosion. The corrosion of steels in nitric acid is further complicated by the autocatalytic reduction of HNO3 to aqueous HNO2 which attacks the steel surface. This paper describes the effect of this behaviour on process steels in stagnant and/or flowing conditions using electrochemical and microgravimetric based methods. We describe linear sweep voltammetry studies performed on a 316L stainless steel rotating disk electrodes in varying concentrations of nitric acid and rotation speeds and provide a qualitative interpretation of the results and what these imply about the mechanism of HNO3 reduction. These findings will be used in follow on studies to determine the kinetic parameters of the nitric acid reduction reaction at the surface of 316L stainless steel.