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Grain growth in uranium nitride prepared by spark plasma sintering
Studsvik Nucl AB, SE-61182 Nykoping, Sweden..
KTH.
2018 (English)In: Journal of Nuclear Materials, ISSN 0022-3115, E-ISSN 1873-4820, Vol. 503, p. 75-80Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Uranium mononitride (UN) has long been considered a potential high density, high performance fuel candidate for light water reactor (LWR) and fast reactor (FR) applications. However, deployability of this fuel has been limited by the notable resistance to sintering and subsequent difficulty in producing a desirable microstructure, the high costs associated with N-15 enrichment, as well as the known proclivity to oxidation and interaction with steam. In this study, the stimulation of grain growth in UN pellets sintered using SPS has been investigated. The results reveal that by using SPS and controlling temperature, time, and holding pressure, grain growth can be stimulated and controlled to produce a material featuring both a desired porosity and grain size, at least within the range of interest for nuclear fuel candidates. Grain sizes up to 31 mm were obtained using temperatures of 1650 degrees C and hold times of 15 min. Evaluation by EBSD reveal grain rotation and coalescence as the dominant mechanism in grain growth, which is suppressed by the application of higher external pressure. Moreover, complete closure of the porosity of the material was observed at relative densities of 96% TD, resulting in a material with sufficient porosity to accommodate LWR burnup. These results indicate that a method exists for the economic fabrication of an N-15-bearing uranium mononitride fuel with favorable microstructural characteristics compatible with use in a light water-cooled nuclear reactor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018. Vol. 503, p. 75-80
Keyword [en]
Uranium nitride, SPS, Accident tolerant fuel, Grain growth
National Category
Materials Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-226740DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2018.02.041ISI: 000429498200008Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85042881493OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-226740DiVA, id: diva2:1204539
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, 295825
Note

QC 20180508

Available from: 2018-05-08 Created: 2018-05-08 Last updated: 2018-05-08Bibliographically approved

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