In situ imaging of corrosion processes in nuclear fuel cladding

Alice Laferrere, Robert Burrows, Ron Clark, Carol Glover, Geraint Williams, Oliver Payton, Loren Picco

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Spent nuclear fuel in the UK is stored within caustic closed ponds and, to ensure the efficiency of storage regimes, there is a need to define and quantify the corrosion processes involved during immersion of fuel cladding. In this project, state-of-the-art characterisation techniques were employed to image the corroding surfaces of two nuclear fuel cladding materials: stainless steel and Magnox. Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) fuel cladding consists of 20Cr-25Ni-Nb stabilised stainless steel and during irradiation the microstructure of the cladding undergoes significant changes, including grain boundary depletion and segregation. Thanks to a High Speed Atomic Force Microscope (HS-AFM) with nanoscale resolution, precipitates and pit initiation in stainless steel were imaged. Magnox is a magnesium-aluminium alloy and during irradiation in reactor the outer metal surface oxidises, forming an adherent passive layer which subsequently hydrates when exposed to water. Corrosion processes encompass breakdown of passivity and filiform-like corrosion, both of which were imaged in situ using a Scanning Vibrating Electrode Technique (SVET).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Corrosion Congress, EUROCORR 2015
PublisherAustrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials (ASMET)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781510837379
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventEuropean Corrosion Congress, EUROCORR 2015 - Graz, Austria
Duration: 6 Sept 201510 Sept 2015


ConferenceEuropean Corrosion Congress, EUROCORR 2015

Structured keywords

  • Engineering Mathematics Research Group


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