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Degradation of UN and UN-U3Si2 pellets in steam environment
KTH, School of Biotechnology (BIO), Centres, Albanova VinnExcellence Center for Protein Technology, ProNova.
KTH, School of Biotechnology (BIO), Centres, Albanova VinnExcellence Center for Protein Technology, ProNova.
KTH, School of Biotechnology (BIO), Centres, Albanova VinnExcellence Center for Protein Technology, ProNova.
2017 (English)In: Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology, ISSN 0022-3131, E-ISSN 1881-1248, Vol. 54, no 4, p. 405-413Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this work, a systematic study of the degradation of UN pellets (density range 96%-99.9% and grain size of 6-24 mu m) and UN-10%U3Si2 (wt%) composite in a steam environment is presented. Static steam autoclave tests were performed at 300 degrees C and 9 MPa for period of 0.5-1.5 hours. Microstructural analyses of UN pellets show that, in a high-pressure atmosphere, the fuel collapses principally by intergranular cracking generated by the precipitation of an oxide phase in the grain boundaries. This mechanism leads to a premature mechanical collapse of the fuel pellet, exposing fresh surfaces to steam, and ultimately accelerating the oxidation process. Increasing density (specifically eliminating open porosity) was found to delay the oxidation process, while increasing grain size was found to accelerate the degradation process due to a greater susceptibility to mechanical fracture by way of intergranular oxidation. The performance of the UN-10%U3Si2 composite proved to be better when compared to UN. The U3Si2 phase served to stabilize the UN grain boundary interface and reacted preferentially with the steam, thereby altering the failure mechanism. In this composite material, the cracking was predominantly intra-granular and the exposure of fresh surfaces was limited, resulting in a slower degradation process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017. Vol. 54, no 4, p. 405-413
Keywords [en]
Fuel, nuclear fuel, accident
National Category
Ceramics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-205441DOI: 10.1080/00223131.2016.1274689ISI: 000395711100001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85014802142OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-205441DiVA, id: diva2:1097097
Note

QC 20170522

Available from: 2017-05-22 Created: 2017-05-22 Last updated: 2017-06-30Bibliographically approved

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