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Title: FABRICATION OF URANIUM OXYCARBIDE KERNELS AND COMPACTS FOR HTR FUEL

Abstract

As part of the program to demonstrate tristructural isotropic (TRISO)-coated fuel for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP), Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR) fuel is being irradiation tested in the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). This testing has led to improved kernel fabrication techniques, the formation of TRISO fuel particles, and upgrades to the overcoating, compaction, and heat treatment processes. Combined, these improvements provide a fuel manufacturing process that meets the stringent requirements associated with testing in the AGR experimentation program. Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) are working in conjunction with a team from Babcock and Wilcox (B&W) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to (a) improve the quality of uranium oxycarbide (UCO) fuel kernels, (b) deposit TRISO layers to produce a fuel that meets or exceeds the standard developed by German researches in the 1980s, and (c) develop a process to overcoat TRISO particles with the same matrix material, but applies it with water using equipment previously and successfully employed in the pharmaceutical industry. A primary goal of this work is to simplify the process, making it more robust and repeatable while relying less on operator technique than prior overcoating efforts. A secondary goal ismore » to improve first-pass yields to greater than 95% through the use of established technology and equipment. In the first test, called “AGR-1,” graphite compacts containing approximately 300,000 coated particles were irradiated from December 2006 to November 2009. The AGR-1 fuel was designed to closely replicate many of the properties of German TRISO-coated particles, thought to be important for good fuel performance. No release of gaseous fission product, indicative of particle coating failure, was detected in the nearly 3-year irradiation to a peak burn up of 19.6% at a time-average temperature of 1038–1121°C. Before fabricating AGR-2 fuel, each fabrication process was improved and changed. Changes to the kernel fabrication process included replacing the carbon black powder feed with a surface-modified carbon slurry and shortening the sintering schedule. AGR-2 TRISO particles were produced in a 6-inch diameter coater using a charge size about 21-times that of the 2-inch diameter coater used to coat AGR-1 particles. The compacting process was changed to increase matrix density and throughput by increasing the temperature and pressure of pressing and using a different type of press. AGR-2 fuel began irradiation in the ATR in late spring 2010.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - NE
OSTI Identifier:
1053628
Report Number(s):
INL/JOU-11-22786
Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5493
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Nuclear Engineering and Design
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 251; Journal Issue: 0; Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5493
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; NGNP + TDO + VHTR + R&D + Fuel + AGR-1 + AG

Citation Formats

Phillips, Jeffrey A, Shaber, Eric L, and Nagley, Scott G. FABRICATION OF URANIUM OXYCARBIDE KERNELS AND COMPACTS FOR HTR FUEL. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1016/j.nucengdes.2011.10.033.
Phillips, Jeffrey A, Shaber, Eric L, & Nagley, Scott G. FABRICATION OF URANIUM OXYCARBIDE KERNELS AND COMPACTS FOR HTR FUEL. United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nucengdes.2011.10.033
Phillips, Jeffrey A, Shaber, Eric L, and Nagley, Scott G. Mon . "FABRICATION OF URANIUM OXYCARBIDE KERNELS AND COMPACTS FOR HTR FUEL". United States. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nucengdes.2011.10.033.
@article{osti_1053628,
title = {FABRICATION OF URANIUM OXYCARBIDE KERNELS AND COMPACTS FOR HTR FUEL},
author = {Phillips, Jeffrey A and Shaber, Eric L and Nagley, Scott G},
abstractNote = {As part of the program to demonstrate tristructural isotropic (TRISO)-coated fuel for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP), Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR) fuel is being irradiation tested in the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). This testing has led to improved kernel fabrication techniques, the formation of TRISO fuel particles, and upgrades to the overcoating, compaction, and heat treatment processes. Combined, these improvements provide a fuel manufacturing process that meets the stringent requirements associated with testing in the AGR experimentation program. Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) are working in conjunction with a team from Babcock and Wilcox (B&W) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to (a) improve the quality of uranium oxycarbide (UCO) fuel kernels, (b) deposit TRISO layers to produce a fuel that meets or exceeds the standard developed by German researches in the 1980s, and (c) develop a process to overcoat TRISO particles with the same matrix material, but applies it with water using equipment previously and successfully employed in the pharmaceutical industry. A primary goal of this work is to simplify the process, making it more robust and repeatable while relying less on operator technique than prior overcoating efforts. A secondary goal is to improve first-pass yields to greater than 95% through the use of established technology and equipment. In the first test, called “AGR-1,” graphite compacts containing approximately 300,000 coated particles were irradiated from December 2006 to November 2009. The AGR-1 fuel was designed to closely replicate many of the properties of German TRISO-coated particles, thought to be important for good fuel performance. No release of gaseous fission product, indicative of particle coating failure, was detected in the nearly 3-year irradiation to a peak burn up of 19.6% at a time-average temperature of 1038–1121°C. Before fabricating AGR-2 fuel, each fabrication process was improved and changed. Changes to the kernel fabrication process included replacing the carbon black powder feed with a surface-modified carbon slurry and shortening the sintering schedule. AGR-2 TRISO particles were produced in a 6-inch diameter coater using a charge size about 21-times that of the 2-inch diameter coater used to coat AGR-1 particles. The compacting process was changed to increase matrix density and throughput by increasing the temperature and pressure of pressing and using a different type of press. AGR-2 fuel began irradiation in the ATR in late spring 2010.},
doi = {10.1016/j.nucengdes.2011.10.033},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1053628}, journal = {Nuclear Engineering and Design},
issn = {0029-5493},
number = 0,
volume = 251,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {10}
}