This work studied the exposure effects of radioactive tank waste on the long-term performance of single junction Ag/AgCl reference electrodes for corrosion potential monitoring at the Hanford Site. Electrodes from three manufacturers with very different designs were studied using open-circuit potential and electrochemical impedance measurements in radioactive tank waste. Post-test analyses were conducted on some failed electrodes using destructive and nondestructive techniques. The intrusion of the aggressive and radioactive chemicals in tank waste through the porous frit materials was the primary mechanism that led to the clogging of frit, physical and chemical degradation of AgCl bonded to Ag wire, and alteration of the internal electrolyte. Radiolytic chemical species such as H2O2 and HNO3 may have also induced the degradation of the Ag wire. The extent of electrode degradation and failure probability highly depended on the electrode design and environmental conditions. Chemicals in tank waste had stronger effects than radiation on the long-term performance of the Ag/AgCl reference electrodes.

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