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Title: Carbothermic Synthesis of 820 m UN Kernels: Literature Review, Thermodynamics, Analysis, and Related Experiments

The U.S. Department of Energy is considering a new nuclear fuel that would be less susceptible to ruptures during a loss-of-coolant accident. The fuel would consist of tristructural isotropic coated particles with large, dense uranium nitride (UN) kernels. This effort explores many factors involved in using gel-derived uranium oxide-carbon microspheres to make large UN kernels. Analysis of recent studies with sufficient experimental details is provided. Extensive thermodynamic calculations are used to predict carbon monoxide and other pressures for several different reactions that may be involved in conversion of uranium oxides and carbides to UN. Experimentally, the method for making the gel-derived microspheres is described. These were used in a microbalance with an attached mass spectrometer to determine details of carbothermic conversion in argon, nitrogen, or vacuum. A quantitative model is derived from experiments for vacuum conversion to an uranium oxide-carbide kernel.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Harbach Engineering and Solutions
  2. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Nuclear Materials; Journal Volume: 448; Journal Issue: 1-3
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
NE USDOE - Office of Nuclear Energy
Country of Publication:
United States
uranium nitride spheres; carothermic