Effect of Grain Boundaries on Krypton Segregation Behavior in Irradiated Uranium Dioxide

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Fission products, such as krypton (Kr), are known to be insoluble within UO2, segregating toward grain boundaries and eventually leading to a lowering in thermal conductivity and fuel swelling. Recent computational studies have identified that differences in grain boundary structure have a significant effect on the segregation behavior of fission products. However, experimental work supporting these simulations is lacking. Atom probe tomography was used to measure the Kr distribution across grain boundaries in UO2. Polycrystalline depleted UO2 samples were irradiated with 0.7 MeV and 1.8 MeV Kr-ions and annealed to 1000°C, 1300°C, and 1600°C for 1 h to produce a Kr-bubble dominated microstructure. The results of this work indicate a strong dependence of Kr concentration as a function of grain boundary structure. Temperature also influences grain boundary chemistry with greater Kr concentration evident at higher temperatures, resulting in a reduced Kr concentration in the bulk. Although Kr segregation takes place at elevated temperatures, no change in grain size or texture was observed in the irradiated UO2 samples.


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