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Title: First elevated-temperature performance testing of coated particle fuel compacts from the AGR-1 irradiation experiment

In the AGR-1 irradiation experiment, 72 coated-particle fuel compacts were taken to a peak burnup of 19.5% fissions per initial metal atom with no in-pile failures. This paper discusses the first post-irradiation test of these mixed uranium oxide/uranium carbide fuel compacts at elevated temperature to examine the fuel performance under a simulated depressurized conduction cooldown event. A compact was heated for 400 h at 1600 degrees C. Release of 85Kr was monitored throughout the furnace test as an indicator of coating failure, while other fission product releases from the compact were periodically measured by capturing them on exchangeable, water-cooled deposition cups. No coating failure was detected during the furnace test, and this result was verified by subsequent electrolytic deconsolidation and acid leaching of the compact, which showed that all SiC layers were still intact. However, the deposition cups recovered significant quantities of silver, europium, and strontium. Based on comparison of calculated compact inventories at the end of irradiation versus analysis of these fission products released to the deposition cups and furnace internals, the minimum estimated fractional losses from the compact during the furnace test were 1.9 x 10-2 for silver, 1.4 x 10-3 for europium, and 1.1 x 10-5 formore » strontium. Other post-irradiation examination of AGR-1 compacts indicates that similar fractions of europium and silver may have already been released by the intact coated particles during irradiation, and it is therefore likely that the detected fission products released from the compact in this 1600 degrees C furnace test were from residual fission products in the matrix. Gamma analysis of coated particles deconsolidated from the compact after the heating test revealed that silver content within each particle varied considerably; a result that is probably not related to the furnace test, because it has also been observed in other as-irradiated AGR-1 compacts. X-ray imaging of selected particles was performed to examine the internal microstructure. This examination revealed variable irradiation performance of the coating layers, but sufficient statistical sampling is not yet available to identify any possible correlation to variation in individual particle fission product retention.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5493
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nuclear Engineering and Design; Journal Volume: 271
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS AGR-1; coated particle fuel