Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 68–77 | Cite as

Failure analysis of high-level radioactive waste tank purge ventilation vent pipe

  • K. H. Subramanian
  • C. F. Jenkins
Peer Reviewed Articles


High-level radioactive wastes generated during the processing of nuclear materials are stored in large underground storage tanks made of low-carbon steel. The wastes consist primarily of concentrated solutions of sodium nitrate (NaNO3) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH). Each of the tanks is equipped with a purge ventilation system designed to continuously remove hydrogen gas and vapors from the waste tanks while preventing the release of radionuclides to the atmosphere. Several intergranular cracks were discovered in the vent pipe of the purge ventilation system of a particular high-level waste tank. The vent pipe, fabricated from galvanized steel sheet, was connected to the final exhaust fan downstream of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. The failure analysis investigation concluded that nitrate-induced stress-corrosion cracking (SCC) was the cause of the failure.


high-level waste tank nitrate stress-corrosion cracking vapor space corrosion 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    G. Sandoz, C.T. Fujii, and B.F. Brown: “Solution Chemistry within Stress-Corrosion Cracking in Alloy Steel,” Corros. Sci., 1970, 10, p. 839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. Benziger and R.J. Madix: Surf. Sci., 1980, 94, pp. 119–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    R.N. Parkins: “The Stress Corrosion Cracking of Low-Strength Ferritic Steels,” The Theory of Stress Corrosion Cracking in Alloys, J.C. Scully, Ed., NATO, Brussels, 1971.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    H. Mazille and H.H. Uhlig: “Effect of Temperature and some Inhibitors on Stress Corrosion Cracking of Carbon Steels in Nitrate and Alkaline Solutions,” Corrosion, 1972, 28, p. 427.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    R.N. Parkins and R. Usher: “The Effect of Nitrates Solutions in Producing Stress Corrosion Cracking in MIld Steel,” First International Congress on Metallic Corrosion, April 15, 1961, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ASM International 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. H. Subramanian
    • 1
  • C. F. Jenkins
    • 1
  1. 1.Savannah River National LaboratoryAiken

Personalised recommendations