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Report No.
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Corrosion evaluation of uranyl nitrate solution evaporator and denitrator in Tokai Reprocessing Plant

Yamanaka, Atsushi; Hashimoto, Kowa; Uchida, Toyomi; Shirato, Yoji; Isozaki, Toshihiko; Nakamura, Yoshinobu

The Tokai Reprocessing Plant (TRP) adopted the PUREX method in 1977 and has reprocessed spent nuclear fuel of 1140 tHM (tons of heavy metals) since then. The reprocessing equipment suffers from various corrosion phenomena because of high nitric acidity, solution ion concentrations, such as uranium, plutonium, and fission products, and temperature. Therefore, considering corrosion performance in such a severe environment, stainless steels, titanium steel, and so forth were employed as corrosion resistant materials. The severity of the corrosive environment depends on the nitric acid concentration and the temperature of the solution, and uranium in the solution reportedly does not significantly affect the corrosion of stainless steels and controls the corrosion rates of titanium steel. The TRP equipment that handles uranyl nitrate solution operates at a low nitric acid concentration and has not experienced corrosion problems until now. However, there is a report that corrosion rates of some stainless steels increase in proportion to rising uranium concentrations. The equipment that handles the uranyl nitrate solution in the TRP includes the evaporators, which concentrate uranyl nitrate to a maximum concentration of about 1000 gU/L (grams of uranium per liter), and the denitrator, where uranyl nitrate is converted to UO$$_{3}$$ powder at about 320$$^{circ}$$C. These equipments are therefore required to grasp the degree of the progress of corrosion to handle high-temperature and high-concentration uranyl nitrate. The evaluation of this equipment on the basis of thickness measurement confirmed only minor corrosion and indicated that the equipment would be fully adequate for future operation.

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