Within the framework of a long lived radioactive waste storage concept in deep geological layer developed by Andra, IRSN leads an in situ study on the Experimental Station of Tournemire, in association with EDF to determine the interactions steel/argillite in a natural context. After 10 years of interaction, two drillings overcoring performed to characterize the processings of the Tournemire argillite in contact with carbon and stainless steels and to compare reactive phenomena highlighted and those induced by simulations tools combining chemistry and transport.
Argillite/carbon steel samples show a significant corrosion of steel disk. Iron released, in the form of rings and cracks in the rock, disrupts the argillite in contact resulting in mineralogical and structural changes. Iron oxides precipitation and a calcite and smectitic leaf of mixed-layers I/S dissolution are identified. A succession of areas: metal/metal corroded/argillite disturbed/argillite is highlighted and porosity variations are observed on the interfaces between two areas. Geochemical simulations show that major changes are initiated speedly during establishment of the system and the oxygen trapped in the closed system is consumed by the corrosion of steel but mostly it diffuses into the surrounding material through concentration gradient.
Argillite/stainless steel samples have a very low pitting corrosion of steel disk. This does not seem to affect the mineralogy of the argillite in contact.