Analysis of Dust Samples Collected from Spent Nuclear Fuel Interim Storage Containers at Hope Creek, Delaware, and Diablo Canyon, California
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Potentially corrosive environments may form on the surface of spent nuclear fuel dry storage canisters by deliquescence of deposited dusts. To assess this, samples of dust were collected from in-service dry storage canisters at two near-marine sites, the Hope Creek and Diablo Canyon storage installations, and have been characterized with respect to mineralogy, chemistry, and texture. At both sites, terrestrially-derived silicate minerals, including quartz, feldspars, micas, and clays, comprise the largest fraction of the dust. Also significant at both sites were particles of iron and iron-chromium metal and oxides generated by the manufacturing process. Soluble salt phases were minor component of the Hope Creek dusts, and were compositionally similar to inland salt aerosols, rich in calcium, sulfate, and nitrate. At Diablo Canyon, however, sea-salt aerosols, occurring as aggregates of NaCl and Mg-sulfate, were a major component of the dust samples. The sea-salt aerosols commonly occurred as hollow spheres, which may have formed by evaporation of suspended aerosol seawater droplets, possibly while rising through the heated annulus between the canister and the overpack. The differences in salt composition and abundance for the two sites are attributed to differences in proximity to the open ocean and wave action. The Diablo Canyon facility is on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, while the Hope Creek facility is on the shores of the Delaware River, several miles from the open ocean.