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Reducing chloride corrosion of stainless steel in the nuclear fuel manufacturing industry : an electrochemical-environmental perspective

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posted on 22.05.2021, 10:24 authored by David Spence
Chloride extraction from nitric acid is an important technique for reducing corrosion of stainless steel. However, there has been a limited amount of research conducted in this area. Pumping ozone-enriched air through nitric acid is a corrosion reduction method that is widely used in the nuclear fuel manufacturing industry, including the Blind River Refinery (BRR), to purge chlorine gas out of the acid. However, this method has been shown to produce significant environmental impacts. Overall, it is an inconsistent and cost-deficient method for reducing chloride corrosion of stainless steel in nitric acid mediums below 7.2M (37.0% volume). This thesis builds on existing literature and demonstrates that oxidizing chloride ions in nitric acid using oxygen, nitric oxide and nitrous oxide is an efficient and cost-effective chloride extraction method for the case study (BRR). It was shown that the level of chloride extraction from nitric acid increased significantly when the acid strength was elevated above 8.4M (42.0%volume) and sparged with various oxidants. The most effective oxidants at this nitric acid strength were: oxygen, ozone, nitric oxide and nitrous oxide. Nitric oxide and nitrous oxide can be produced by sparging 43.0% nitric acid with air or sparging 43.0% nitric acid with NOx fumes. In terms of the BRR case study, it was shown that using operational-specific combinations of these methods can drastically reduce the environmental impacts associated with their chloride removal process; significantly increase the level of chloride extraction; reduce energy consumption and operating costs by as much as 54.0%; and reduce material requirements by as much as 80.0%.





Master of Applied Science


Environmental Applied Science and Management

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type