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Title: The effect of fuel chemistry on UO2 dissolution

The dissolution rate of both unirradiated UO2 and used nuclear fuel has been studied by numerous countries as part of the performance assessment of proposed geologic repositories. In the scenario of waste package failure and groundwater infiltration into the fuel, the effects of variables such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, and water and fuel chemistry on the dissolution rates of the fuel are necessary to provide a quantitative estimate of the potential release over geologic time frames. The primary objective of this research was to determine the influence these parameters have on the dissolution rate of unirradiated UO2 under repository conditions and compare them to the rates predicted by current dissolution models. Both unirradiated UO2 and UO2 doped with varying concentrations of Gd2O3, to simulate used fuel composition after long time periods where radiolysis has minor contributions to dissolution, were examined. In general, a rise in temperature increased the dissolution rate of UO2 and had a larger effect on pure UO2 than on those doped with Gd2O3. Oxygen dependence was observed in the UO2 samples with no dopant and increased as the temperature rose; in the doped fuels less dependence was observed. The addition of gadolinia into the UO2 matrix showedmore » a significant decrease in the dissolution rate. The matrix stabilization effect resulting from the dopant proved even more beneficial in lowering the dissolution rate at higher temperatures and dissolved O2 concentrations in the leachate where the rates would typically be elevated.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Nuclear Materials, 476:45-55
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
UO2 dissolution; fuel matrix effects; single pass flow through; nuclear fuel dissolution