A theoretical model of the nucleation of a passivating salt layer on the surface S of an anode-dissolving metal was developed. The layer is considered a new phase formed by the mechanism of heterogeneous nucleation, which serves as a related substrate for subsequent growth of the passivating layer. According to experiments, the surface S of real metals is inhomogeneous, that is, anode current density fluctuates on S. It is assumed that, at large current fluctuations, localized regions with volume ΔV φ appear, in which the C M and C A concentrations of the M z+ and A n- ions are increased. At fairly large current fluctuations, these concentrations can reach saturation. For this reason, the ΔV φ regions are treated as mother phases, in which A a M m salt nuclei are formed with a certain probability. The formation of such ΔV φ volumes and the kinetics of formation of nuclei in them, from which a passivating layer with a finite thickness is formed, are considered. © 2010 Pleiades Publishing, Ltd.