Synthesis, Sintering and Hydrothermal Corrosion Studies of Advanced Multiphase Actinide Fuels
The Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) has emphasized the need for technological developments which improve the reliability, sustain the safety, and extend the lifetime of the current light water reactor (LWR) fleet. This research is in support of this DOE-NE objective to develop a more accident tolerant class of advanced nuclear fuels. Fuels with higher uranium density and thermal conductivity as compared to the benchmark, uranium dioxide (UO2), are of particular interest due to the potential for improved power uprates and longer fuel cycle lengths. Uranium mononitride (UN) has higher uranium density and thermal conductivity as compared to UO2, but unproven performance in accident scenarios. Early studies suggest UN composites may improve the reliability and safety of nitride fuels. UN, synthesized via a hydride-dehydride-nitride thermal process, was mixed with up to 10 wt% UO2 and sintered in Ar-100 ppm N2 at 1900˚C.The sintered pellets were submersed in water in a high temperature and pressure autoclave environment to understand the effects of time and temperature representative of an accident situation in which fuel-coolant interaction takes place due to a fuel cladding failure.
Watkins, Jennifer, "Synthesis, Sintering and Hydrothermal Corrosion Studies of Advanced Multiphase Actinide Fuels" (2016). 2016 Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Conference. Paper 5.