Nuclear Connections with Huntington’s Plant Extend to Nickel Alloys

Updated 5 years ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Nuclear Connections with Huntington’s Plant Extend to Nickel Alloys

Huntington Alloy Products (a.k.a. International Nickel) and its workers have received praise from the Department of the Navy , nuclear power plants and the AEC/NRC regarding nuclear weaponry.

Praising workers as having accomplished next to impossible tasks, workers were in effect declared on-shore members of the U.S. Navy.

Establishing a long connection between nickel and alloys to nuclear weapons and nuclear plants comes in numerous forms, including advertisements placed by the company in metallurgic publications for alloys such as Monel, INCONEL, and INCO 82/182.

The nickel alloys have a high corrosion melt point, which is why the long time coupling of the plant with nuclear and defense industries.

For instance, an August 21, 1978 Village Voice article “Geiger Counter: If Leaks Could Kill” asked whether an alloys had triggered some leaking reactors and a press-stated “cover up” of the investigation.  In fairness, this is not the only study on alloy heating .  The April 1980 “Corrosion of High Ni-Cr Alloys and Type 304L Stainless Steel in HN03-HF” was completed by The Savannah River Laboratory related to reprocessing irradiated thorium and uranium and recycling irradiated uranium fuel from commercial power reactors.  And, alloys are discussed in “Plutonium Finishing Plant , Waste Incinerator Facility (Building 232-Z) Hanford Site”  in a 1995 report.

The Voice article first explained how nickel alloys worked at the Seabrook, Indian Point, New Jersey plant: "Whenever a single nuclear reactor contains hundreds of miles of convoluted piping, much of it is stuck together with INCO 82 and INCO 182, twin miracles of American knowledge brought forth by Huntington Alloy Products."

Columnist Anna Mayo continues: " A nuke’s labyrinthine intestines carry water to cool its dangerously fissioning uranium fuel core, but in soothing the savage fuel  the coolant water itself becomes dangerously radioactive. Leaking it can kill.  So it is that INCO 82 and INCO 182 are two of the world’s most crucial glues…. The Public Service Electric and Gas Co. is a NJ utility with four nuclear reactors either operating or under construction…….."

Mayo then details a 1975 scenario of experiments by Dr. Edward Siegel carried out an investigation into possible brittling and cracking in the aforementioned alloys.  Siegel was fired from the utility for his experiments, the Voice said. It alludes to a "scientific meeting that his work might have implications for failures in other nickel alloys, including Inconel 600."

(Editor's Note: A reminder the scientific allegations originate from the mid 70s and having not research outcomes, HNN takes NO position. We welcome any follow up studies that would rebuke the Voice statements which are published here as educational historic legacy data.)

Ms. Mayor continues that in late June (1975) in Palo, Iowa, the Iowa Electric Company shut down to remove fuel in its Dunne Arnold nuclear power plant after a malfunctioning reactor "operating fuel decays to the point where a portion of it is plutonium and it can be handled by remote control cranes, which like their human masters can slip and drop their dangerous loads."

The Iowa shut down, in addition, to an expensive fix brought to the forefront storage of radioactive waste.

"Iowa Electric's fuel storage pool is [1975] already filled beyond original design specification," due to the lack of a national radioactive waste disposal facility to receive spent fuel. The dilemma might explain another factor in recycling spent fuel in addition to filtering expensive metals out of the mixture.  The Geiger Counter column continues, "The problem with crowding a fuel pool is that if fuel elements get too close to one another , you get a chain reaction  that can result in a disaster movie release of radioactivity."

Fuel removal is astronomically expensive…  whether the repairs were the results of error or reliance upon defective material. (The actual cause of the failure unanswered in the legacy article.)  The Dunne Arnold fuel had to be removed when leakage at the Iowa plant reached an alarming level of four gallons of radioactive water per minute.

The Voice article attributed the leak   to have caused by failures in Inconel 600 fittings. The NRC assures  that the problems with Inconel 600  (another nickel alloy) are unrelated.

Incoloy 800 had a relationship to the Hanford study: "By the time the 232-Z incinerator failed in July 1965, it had recovered 157 kg of plutonium (or the contents of 2,400 ash cans). In view of these favorable results, and of the unfavorable waste carton storage conditions, quick repair was desired. However, the fabrication with the Incoloy 800  material to Hanford's tight specifications was more difficult than expected, and the new incinerator was not available for startup until October 17,1966. In the meanwhile, leaching operations in the 232-Z facility went forward with efficiency....The combination Incoloy 800 and 321 stainless steel furnace then operated for over two
years until it failed and was re-built again in early and mid-1970. During those two years,
problems with the off-gas scrubber system were the most frequent, with other temporary
shutdowns caused one major fire in the HEPA filter and by localized fires in the chopper and in
the feed end of the incinerator glove box itself."


The aforementioned Savannah River pilot study concluded, "With thorium f u e l , which requires HN03-HF f o r dissolution, the b e s t a l l o y f o r service at 13OoC when complexing agents f o r
fluoride are used is Inconel@ 690 (Huntington Alloys, Inc.); with
no complexing agents at 13OoC, Inconel@ 671 is best. A t 9S0C,
s i x other alloys tested would be adequate: Haynes@ 25, (Cabot
Corp.) Ferralium@ (Cabot Corp.) , Inconel@ 625, Type 304L s t a i n l e s s
steel, Incoloy@ 825 (Huntington Allovs. I n c . ) , and Haynes@ 20
(in order of decreasing preference); based on composition, s i x
untested alloys would also be adequate. The ions most effective
i n reducing fluoride corrosion were the complexing agents Zr4+
and Th4+; A13+ was less effective."

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