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Title: Synthesis of phase-pure U2N3 microspheres and its decomposition into UN

Uranium mononitride (UN) is important as a nuclear fuel. Fabrication of UN in its microspherical form also has its own merits since the advent of the concept of accident-tolerant fuel, where UN is being considered as a potential fuel in the form of TRISO particles. But, not many processes have been well established to synthesize kernels of UN. Therefore, a process for synthesis of microspherical UN with a minimum amount of carbon is discussed herein. First, a series of single-phased microspheres of uranium sesquinitride (U2N3) were synthesized by nitridation of UO2+C microspheres at a few different temperatures. Resulting microspheres were of low-density U2N3 and decomposed into low-density UN. The variation of density of the synthesized sesquinitrides as a function of its chemical composition indicated the presence of extra (interstitial) nitrogen atoms corresponding to its hyperstoichiometry, which is normally indicated as α-U2N3. Average grain sizes of both U2N3 and UN varied in a range of 1–2.5 μm. In addition, these had a considerably large amount of pore spacing, indicating the potential sinterability of UN toward its use as a nuclear fuel.
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Materials Science & Technology Division
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Inorganic Chemistry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 54; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 0020-1669
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS uranium nitride kernels; uranium sesquinitride; uranium mononitride