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Analytical Methods of Hydrogen and Helium Embrittlement


Development of Analytical Methods of Hydrogen and Helium Embrittlement of Nuclear Reactor Materials and Containers for Storage and Transport of Radioactive Materials

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-MAT/Materials and Materials Conversion/Fission Reactors
  • FIR-NSS/Nuclear Safety and Safeguarding/Fission Reactors

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Tocheny L V

Leading Institute
Kurchatov Research Center, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Tomsk Polytechnical University, Russia, Tomsk reg., Tomsk


  • Fraunhofer Institute Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren, Germany, Saarbrücken

Project summary

The goal of the project is to broad the metallurgical and physical knowledge about damages caused by hydrogen and helium accumulation in reactor materials and to develop non-destructive methods for early possible diagnostic of prescheduled degradation of materials of nuclear power stations components, as well as containers for storage and transport of radioactive materials caused by hydrogen and helium embrittlement. The reliable non- destructive methods of control will be an essential contribution to nuclear reactor safety, reducing a probability of the components failure. During this project, the mathematical models describing the principles of hydrogen and helium accumulation in the reactor materials and the influence of these impurities on physical and mechanical properties of materials will be developed.

The project will be realized in RRC Kurchatov Institute (Moscow) and in Tomsk Polytechnic University, Research Institute for Nuclear Physics and Research Institute for Introscopy. The equipment developed by the project participants will be used as well the standard setups and installations. The non-destructive nuclear physics methods will be used to determine hydrogen and helium contents in metals: elastic recoil detection analysis (ERDA) and Rutherford back scattering (RBS). The electron-positron annihilation method will be used for measurement of defects concentration in material.The hydrogen and defect migration during irradiation will be investigated by measurements of acoustic emission signals. The defects and cracks on the surfaces of the reactor’s and containers materials will be studied by optical and electronic microscopy methods. The participants have also the necessary equipment to measure the sound velocity, magnetic characteristics of materials and radiation induced hydrogen release.

The achievements of the project participants are widely known; they performed a series of theoretical and experimental works in the field of defects formation at hydrogen accumulation of metals and alloys, and developed nuclear physics and atomic physics methods and principles for gas additives analysis.

A large number of experimental works in the field of hydrogen accumulation performed by authors for a wide number of materials (steels, titanium alloys and other metals, which form hydrates) is a good base for the future investigations. During last years, the participants of the project obtained new data on hydrogen behavior at irradiation. Namely, the ionizing radiation excites a hydrogen subsystem in a solid and as a sequence, the intensive hydrogen migration and its release from solid appears. At the same time, the migrating hydrogen stimulates the additives and defects diffusion and as result, there appear defect annihilation and structure ordering of imperfect crystal.

Therefore, the investigation of hydrogen and helium role in defects formation and crystal structure ordering, and dependence of these processes on the level of radiation influence and presence of mechanical stress will allow to work out the good based prognoses of constructive material reliability and to slow down the degradation of constructive materials.


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