The Idaho National Laboratory investigated long-term concrete performance for nuclear applications. Scientists searched the open literature for information on the effects of heat and radiation. They also examined the concrete shield of the Pacific Sierra Nuclear Ventilated Storage Cask (VSC-17) for concrete deterioration and loss of shielding. The literature search revealed that low doses, <109 n/cm2 or <1011 Rad gamma, of radiation over periods less than 50 years do not appear to significantly affect concrete. Exposure over 100 years was not studied. The effects of higher doses of radiation are not as clear. Generally, the threshold of degradation is 95°C, and degradation increases with increasing temperature and time. In 15 years of VSC-17 use, there is no apparent effect from environment, radiation, or temperature that has adversely affected the shielding or structural functions, although there has been some minor cracking of the concrete.

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