Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika

The peer-reviewed scientific and technology journal. ISSN: 0204-3327

Galvanic corrosion of zirconnium alloys in water coolant

7/09/2020 2020 - #02 Nuclear materials

Melehovets A.Y. Pyshin I.V.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2020.2.05

UDC: 621.039.546

One of the factors limiting the operation of a nuclear reactor is degradation of the core structural materials and the fuel claddings made of zirconium alloys in water coolant. Thus, it is typical of BWR reactors to have the Zircaloy-2 fuel channel cladding surface corrosion accelerated locally near the stainless steel control blade (shadow corrosion). A common explanation is that galvanic effect is responsible for the phenomenon. The presented mathematical model shows that dissimilar metals in the core (zirconium alloy and steel) form a corrosive galvanic element which results in accelerated local corrosion of the zirconium alloy. In VVER reactors, due to a great distance between the core structural elements with different electrochemical potentials, the galvanic corrosion process is more uniform over the corroding element’s large area, so no shadow corrosion occurs. The contribution of galvanic effects to the overall corrosion process can be however substantial.


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corrosion fuel element zirconium alloy oxide film galvanic effect electrochemical potential