Stainless steel sealed buckets may not be the best choice for storing nuclear waste

Stainless steel may not be the best choice for high levels of nuclear waste, according to a new study by researchers at Ohio State University. By simulating long-term storage conditions, the team found that storage materials interactmore with each other than previously thought, allowing them to degrade faster. The storage of nuclear waste is not just a perennial political football, it also has a head-scratching problem.

Regardless of what you think of nuclear or nuclear weapons, thousands of tons of nuclear waste are temporarily stored around the world, which means that a way must be found to store all waste safely in the long term.

The most important type of nuclear waste is nuclear energy waste or high-level waste left over from nuclear nuclear weapons production. The waste consists of a complex mixture of radioisotopes with a half-life of several thousand years. Although nuclear reactors have been in operation around the world for 75 years, only Finland has only begun to establish permanent storage facilities to deal with this very dangerous waste.

Stainless steel sealed buckets may not be the best choice for storing nuclear waste

This may indicate a lack of political will, or even courage, but perhaps this reluctance is accidental. This is because the preferred method for storing high-energy waste today is to glass it out. In other words, mixing isotopes with molten glass or ceramics to form a chemically inert substance can be sealed in an underground storage facility, whereas it is usually sealed in a stainless steel tank.

If the Ohio study is correct, the plan may now have to be changed. The team used glass and ceramics and made them in close contact with stainless steel in various wet solutions for 30 days, similar to the U.S. Stakes in The Ranshan nuclear waste storage.

“In real life, the form of glass or ceramic scrap will come into close contact with stainless steel cans. Under certain conditions, the corrosion of stainless steel can become crazy. It will create a super corrosive environment that will corrode surrounding materials. “

They found that the interaction of steel with glass or ceramics can produce severe local corrosion, not only corrosion of steel, but also corrosion and rupture of glass and ceramics. According to the team, this is because iron in stainless steel has a chemical affinity with silicon in glass, which accelerates corrosion.

This suggests that the current model may not be sufficient to store the waste safely, and we need to develop a new model for storing nuclear waste.

The study was published in Nature Materials.