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Applications in the Nuclear Industry for Thermal Spray Amorphous Metal and Ceramic Coatings


Amorphous metal and ceramic thermal spray coatings have been developed with excellent corrosion resistance and neutron absorption. These coatings, with further development, could be cost-effective options to enhance the corrosion resistance of drip shields and waste packages, and limit nuclear criticality in canisters for the transportation, aging, and disposal of spent nuclear fuel. Iron-based amorphous metal formulations with chromium, molybdenum, and tungsten have shown the corrosion resistance believed to be necessary for such applications. Rare earth additions enable very low critical cooling rates to be achieved. The boron content of these materials and their stability at high neutron doses enable them to serve as high efficiency neutron absorbers for criticality control. Ceramic coatings may provide even greater corrosion resistance for waste package and drip shield applications, although the boron-containing amorphous metals are still favored for criticality control applications. These amorphous metal and ceramic materials have been produced as gas-atomized powders and applied as near full density, nonporous coatings with the high-velocity oxy-fuel process. This article summarizes the performance of these coatings as corrosion-resistant barriers and as neutron absorbers. This article also presents a simple cost model to quantify the economic benefits possible with these new materials.

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