Microbially Induced Corrosion in Firefighting Systems—Experience and Remedies

  • Ulla EhrnsténEmail author
  • Leena Carpén
  • Kimmo Tompuri
Conference paper
Part of the The Minerals, Metals & Materials Series book series (MMMS)


Firefighting water systems are important safety systems in all industries, including nuclear power plants (NPPs). However, they are susceptible to microbially induced corrosion, which is a degradation mode needing special attention. Leakages were observed in a fire fighting system made from stainless steel at a nuclear power plant shortly after maintenance and modernization work, which included replacement of part of the old carbon steel pipelines with stainless steel pipelines, as well as exchange of some Type 304 stainless steel pipes with Type 316 pipes due to relining parts of the system. The failure analysis revealed sub-surface corrosion cavities with pinholes at the inner surface and finally penetrating the whole pipe wall thickness. It was concluded that the reason for the leaks was due to microbially induced corrosion, (MIC). The paper will present the results from failure analyses, explain the remedial actions taken at the power plant, and discuss the implication of these findings on new similar systems, including the importance of avoiding iron deposits and optimization of water quality.


Stainless steel Microbially induced corrosion Ageing management 



The work was performed for Teollisuuden Voima. This publication has been prepared as part of the Finnish national research program on reactor safety, SAFIR 2018, project THELMA. The funding is highly appreciated.


  1. 1.
    U. Ehrnstén et al., A Survey Of Corrosion in Fire Fighting Water Systems in Nuclear Power Plants, VTT report VALC 613 (1999)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    P. Su, D.B. Fuller, Corrosion and Corrosion Mitigation in Fire Protection Systems, FM Global technical report, project ID 0003040794, 2nd edn (July 2014)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    L. Carpén et al., Effects of Leptothrix discophora on the potential behavior of stainless steel. Mater. Corros. 54, 515519 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    T. Hakkarainen, L. Carpén, Effects of Heat Tints on Pitting Susceptibility of Stainless Steel, in 7th International Symposium on Electrochemical Methods in Corrosion Research, EMCR2000, Paper No. 061 (Budapest, Hungary May 28–June 1 2000)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    L. Carpén et al., Simulation of MIC at Splash Zone Areas of the Paper Industry, CORROSION 2001, Paper no. 245, (NACE International, Houston, TX, 2001)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    T. Hakkarainen, Microbiologically influenced corrosion of stainless steels—What is required for pitting? Mater. Corros. 54(7), 503–509 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    J. Roland, P.E. Huggins, Microbiological Influenced Corrosion. What it is and how it works,
  8. 8.
    D.H. Pope, A Study of Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion in Nuclear Power Plants and a Practical Guide for Countermeasures, EPRI NP-4582 (May 1986)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    S. Ferrel, Microbiologically induced corrosion (MIC) special program (SP) final report, 1993. Accessed 6 Mar 2017
  10. 10.
    R. Lutey, Water Treatment Strategies: Microorganism Control, EPRI (Palo Alto, CA 2004), 1009598Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    L. Carpén, Corrosion of Stainless Steel in Fire Protection Systems, VTT Research report VTT-R-01556-08, VTT (1998)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    L. Carpén et al., Microbially induced corrosion (MIC) in austenitic stainless steel used as fire extinguishing pipes, Eurocorr 2001, the European Corrosion Congress, Riva del Garda, Italy, Sept 30–Oct 4 2001 (AIM, Associazione Italiana de Metallurgia, 2001)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    D.H. Pope, R.M. Pope, Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion in Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems, Corrosion 2000, Paper No. 00401 (NACE International, Houston, TX, 2000)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    M.H. Renner, Corrosion Engineering Aspects Regarding MIC Related Failures of Stainless Steels. Corrosion, Paper No. 285 (NACE International, Houston, TX, 1998)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    R.I. Garber, D.G. Chakrapani, Some Recent Failures of Fire Sprinkler System Components: Corrosion Case Histories, Corrosion, Paper No 04511 (NACE International, Houston, TX, 2004)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    L. Hilbert et al., Unexpected Corrosion of Stainless Steel in Low Chloride Waters—Microbial Aspects. Eurocorr 2009. The European Corrosion Congress, 6–10 Sept 2009, Nice, France. EFC. Nice, FR, 16 s, 2009Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    G. Kobrin (ed.), A Practical Manual on Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (Nace International, Houston, TX, 1993)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, VTTEspooFinland
  2. 2.Teollisuuden Voima OyjOlkiluotoFinland

Personalised recommendations