The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has proposed the concept of a deep geological repository (DGR) for the storage of Canada’s used nuclear fuel. A major engineered component is the used fuel container (UFC) consisting of a steel core coated with copper for corrosion resistance. The copper coating is required to have sufficient ductility and adhesion strength to the steel substrate for loading requirements under DGR conditions. The NWMO has identified two coating technologies for the application process: electrodeposition and cold spray. Electrodeposition is utilized to coat the bulk of the UFC components (i.e., hemi-spherical head and lower assembly). A portion of the hemi-spherical head and the lower assembly openings remain uncoated in order to facilitate the final assembly closure weld process after fuel loading. This area is then cold sprayed with copper to complete the coating on the steel. Since the cold sprayed coating is highly strained in the as-sprayed state, it requires a heat treatment to impart ductility. The ductility is assessed indirectly by measuring the hardness of the material before and after the heat treatment. A recent advancement on this front includes the implementation of an optimized band heat treatment method to prototype UFC’s.

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