Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Development of Light Water Reactor Reference Electrodes (LIRES), Final report (summary)

Project ID: FIKS-CT-2000-00012
Funded under: FP5-EAECTP C


With the increasing age of nuclear power plants, stainless-steel core components suffer from increasing irradiation damage. These irradiated stainless steels are susceptible to stress corrosion cracking, in this case called irradiation-assisted stress corrosion cracking (IASCC). IASCC occurs due to a combination of high temperature, stress and irradiation and is strongly affected by the corrosion potential. The corrosion potential is a useful measure for monitoring of IASCC as it can distinguish between the case that IASCC is likely to occur (high value of the corrosion potential) and the case that IASCC is not likely to occur (low value of the corrosion potential). For example, cracking due to IASCC has been observed in both boiling-water reactors (BWR) and pressurised-water reactors (PWR). The corrosion potential is a useful measure for monitoring and mitigating IASCC, since IASCC of stainless steels in BWRs can be prevented if the corrosion potential is decreased to below - 230 mV (SHE). IASCC occurs above a threshold fast neutron dose which depends on the reactor type (BWR vs PWR). To measure the corrosion potential a reference electrode is needed.
Therefore the main objective of the LIRES project was to develop reference electrodes which can be used inside the core of a light-water reactor (LWR). Thus the electrodes must survive under high temperature, pressure and irradiation conditions for a sufficiently long lifetime, i.e. at least one fuel cycle. Also the potential of the reference electrode must be related to the standard hydrogen electrode (SHE) scale.

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