Ensuring the Safety of Nuclear Waste Containment
Meet Thalia Standish
Dr. David Shoesmith and Dr. Jamie Noël
Corrosion and degradation of nuclear fuel waste containers
NSERC Canadian Graduate Scholarship-Doctoral
Mitacs Accelerate Internship
T. E. Standish, M. Yari, D. W. Shoesmith, and J. J. Noël. “Crevice Corrosion of Grade-2 Titanium in Saline Solutions at Different Temperatures and Oxygen Concentrations,” J. Electrochem. Soc., vol. 164, pp. C788-C795, 2017.
T. E. Standish, D. Zagidulin, S. Ramamurthy, J. J. Noël, P. G. Keech, and D. W. Shoesmith, “Galvanic Corrosion of Copper-Coated Carbon Steel for Used Nuclear Fuel Containers,” Corros. Eng. Sci. Techn., vol. 52, pp. 65-69, 2017
T. E. Standish, J. Chen, R. Jacklin, P. Jakupi, S. Ramamurthy, P. Keech, and D. W. Shoesmith. “Corrosion of Copper-Coated Steel
Standish is in the fourth year of her
Containing and storing spent nuclear fuel on the time scale of 100,000 years is a national challenge currently facing Canada. Though nuclear power currently meets more than 50% of Ontario’s power production, finding a safe and permanent storage system for this radioactive fuel is still an elusive goal. Currently, nuclear waste is stowed in temporary storage facilities, but the goal is to find a permanent and safe solution. Thalia Standish, a
The proposed permanent solution is to bury steel containers coated with copper deep into the ground; however, any container must be able to resist the corrosion of the groundwater percolating down towards the buried containers. Standish’s research evaluates the corrosion rates of these materials over time. Standish looks primarily at what happens when a defect is present in the copper coating and the steel interacts with water and dissolved oxygen. When this occurs the steel has the potential to undergo accelerated corrosion because it is now reacting with both the copper and groundwater.
To address this, Standish uses electrochemistry and image analysis to see how the corrosion happens and progresses while determining the influence of different environmental parameters. Standish uses state-of-art imaging instruments such as
The research has produced a database delivering information on the amount of steel lost and rate of that corrosion under different environmental conditions. This has become an essential safety tool for determining how these materials should perform over their expected lifetimes and addressing the what-if questions regarding worst outcome scenarios.