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Title: Characterisation of stainless steel contamination in acidic media
Author: Kerry, Timothy
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 0368
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2018
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There is great interest in understanding the contamination of stainless steel by radionuclides across the nuclear fuel cycle. Through study of uptake mechanisms, contaminant localisation and process conditions that affect uptake, decontamination strategies can be tailored to remove built-up radioactive species. This study focusses on understanding stainless steel contamination by inactive lanthanides and radioactive actinide species (U, Np, Pu and Am) in acidic media. Through depth profiling, contamination has been seen to localise on the interface of the oxide layer and the bulk metal (at depths of up to 100 nm) indicating a potentially tenacious contamination mechanism. Furthermore, contaminant was observed at greater depths within the material (up to ~300 nm), suggesting penetration beyond the passive layer in to the bulk of the material. Long term immersion studies (up to 9 months) in 12 M HNO3 have also been undertaken to investigate the effect of surface corrosion on contaminant uptake. After 3 months the surface had undergone intergranular corrosion and grain droppage was observed. Further surface analysis revealed localisation of contaminants within the steel grain boundaries and vacancies. Once again, this may necessitate a more aggressive decontamination strategy. Conditions have been identified that enhance uptake of transuranic contaminants. Highest levels of uptake were seen in polished steel samples immersed in 4 M HNO3. The Np-237, Pu-239 and Am-241 contaminated samples showed surface concentrations of up to 1.2x107, 9.4x105 and 1x109 Bq/m2, respectively. In the case of Np contamination of stainless steel, microfocus X-ray absorption spectroscopy has shown the surface-mediated reduction of Np(V) leading to Np(IV) adsorption.
Supervisor: Livens, Francis ; Sharrad, Clint Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Corrosion ; Transuranics ; Uranium ; Radionuclides ; Stainless Steel ; Nuclear ; Contamination ; 304L