Nuclear Materials and Corrosion Investigations

Nuclear Materials and Corrosion Department infrastructure allows the following investigations: corrosion behaviour of metallic materials from the primary and secondary circuit of the CANDU reactor; corrosion behaviour of advanced materials for Generation IV reactors; microbiologic corrosion in NPPs; DHC phenomenon and fracture mechanics; structural integrity of metallic components under different conditions; thermal-mechanic behaviour of metallic and ceramic materials under different stress levels and environment conditions; manufacturing experimental nuclear fuel (prototype).

The principal objectives of the research are:

  • To preserve and develop the capacity to provide technical - scientific support for the safe operation of Cernavoda NPP during lifetime operation;
  • Out of pile studies of nuclear materials behaviour during normal, abnormal and severe accident conditions;
  • Technologies development for experimental fuel elements fabrication & advanced nuclear fuels manufacturing;
  • Iridium isotopes production.

Last year, the Nuclear Materials and Corrosion Department has contributed to two H2020 Projects: GEMMA (GEneration IV Materials MAturity) and MEACTOS (Mitigating Environmentally-Assisted Cracking Through Optimisation of Surface Condition).

The analysis and diagnosis of degraded components from NPP Cernavoda, structural integrity assessments, evaluations of restrictions on the service life of components caused by the degradation progression and a development of an experimental database concerning the corrosion of structural materials for the primary and secondary circuit could be specified among the main achievements of the department.

In order to provide information on corrosion behaviour of the structural materials from primary circuit under normal and abnormal conditions of operation and to identify the fault types produced by the corrosion, chemical accelerated tests, static/dynamic autoclaving and electrochemical tests are performed. The gravimetric method, optical, metallographic and electronic microscopy, XPS and XRD analysis, as well as different electrochemical analysis are used to evaluate the corrosion behaviour of Zr-alloys, Ni-alloys, stainless steels and carbon steels. The experimental data allowed the correlation of different corrosion processes with the testing parameters. In order to monitor the effects of coolant chemistry on the corrosion of the system components and the build-up of activity on materials, the analysis of corrosion samples removed from the autoclaves placed in the by-passes of the primary circuit at NPP Cernavoda are performed.


Dumitra Lucan, RATEN ICN