skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Am phases in the matrix of a U–Pu–Zr alloy with Np, Am, and rare-earth elements

Abstract

Phases and microstructures in the matrix of an as-cast U-Pu-Zr alloy with 3 wt% Am, 2% Np, and 8% rare-earth elements were characterized by scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The matrix consists primarily of two phases, both of which contain Am: ζ-(U, Np, Pu, Am) (~70 at% U, 5% Np, 14% Pu, 1% Am, and 10% Zr) and δ-(U, Np, Pu, Am)Zr 2 (~25% U, 2% Np, 10-15% Pu, 1-2% Am, and 55-60 at% Zr). These phases are similar to those in U-Pu-Zr alloys, although the Zr content in ζ-(U, Np, Pu, Am) is higher than that in ζ-(U, Pu) and the Zr content in δ-(U, Np, Pu, Am)Zr 2 is lower than that in δ-UZr 2. Nanocrystalline actinide oxides with structures similar to UO2 occurred in some areas, but may have formed by reactions with the atmosphere during sample handling. Planar features consisting of a central zone of ζ-(U, Np, Pu, Am) bracketed by zones of δ-(U, Np, Pu, Am)Zr 2 bound irregular polygons ranging in size from a few micrometers to a few tens of micrometers across. The rest of the matrix consists of elongated domains of ζ-(U, Np, Pu, Am) and δ-(U, Np, Pu, Am)Zr 2. Eachmore » of these domains is a few tens of nanometers across and a few hundred nanometers long. The domains display strong preferred orientations involving areas a few hundred nanometers to a few micrometers across.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1162218
Report Number(s):
INL/JOU-14-31715
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3115; TRN: US1500180
DOE Contract Number:
AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Nuclear Materials; Journal Volume: 456; Journal Issue: C
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; GRAIN ORIENTATION; TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY; PHASE STUDIES; ZONES; NANOSTRUCTURES; URANIUM BASE ALLOYS; PLUTONIUM ALLOYS; AMERICIUM ALLOYS; NEPTUNIUM ALLOYS; ZIRCONIUM ALLOYS; RARE EARTH ALLOYS; SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY; ACTINIDE COMPOUNDS; OXIDES; DOMAIN STRUCTURE; NUCLEAR MATERIALS

Citation Formats

Janney, Dawn E., Kennedy, J. Rory, Madden, James W., and O’Holleran, Thomas P. Am phases in the matrix of a U–Pu–Zr alloy with Np, Am, and rare-earth elements. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2014.08.051.
Janney, Dawn E., Kennedy, J. Rory, Madden, James W., & O’Holleran, Thomas P. Am phases in the matrix of a U–Pu–Zr alloy with Np, Am, and rare-earth elements. United States. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2014.08.051.
Janney, Dawn E., Kennedy, J. Rory, Madden, James W., and O’Holleran, Thomas P. Thu . "Am phases in the matrix of a U–Pu–Zr alloy with Np, Am, and rare-earth elements". United States. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2014.08.051.
@article{osti_1162218,
title = {Am phases in the matrix of a U–Pu–Zr alloy with Np, Am, and rare-earth elements},
author = {Janney, Dawn E. and Kennedy, J. Rory and Madden, James W. and O’Holleran, Thomas P.},
abstractNote = {Phases and microstructures in the matrix of an as-cast U-Pu-Zr alloy with 3 wt% Am, 2% Np, and 8% rare-earth elements were characterized by scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The matrix consists primarily of two phases, both of which contain Am: ζ-(U, Np, Pu, Am) (~70 at% U, 5% Np, 14% Pu, 1% Am, and 10% Zr) and δ-(U, Np, Pu, Am)Zr2 (~25% U, 2% Np, 10-15% Pu, 1-2% Am, and 55-60 at% Zr). These phases are similar to those in U-Pu-Zr alloys, although the Zr content in ζ-(U, Np, Pu, Am) is higher than that in ζ-(U, Pu) and the Zr content in δ-(U, Np, Pu, Am)Zr2 is lower than that in δ-UZr2. Nanocrystalline actinide oxides with structures similar to UO2 occurred in some areas, but may have formed by reactions with the atmosphere during sample handling. Planar features consisting of a central zone of ζ-(U, Np, Pu, Am) bracketed by zones of δ-(U, Np, Pu, Am)Zr2 bound irregular polygons ranging in size from a few micrometers to a few tens of micrometers across. The rest of the matrix consists of elongated domains of ζ-(U, Np, Pu, Am) and δ-(U, Np, Pu, Am)Zr2. Each of these domains is a few tens of nanometers across and a few hundred nanometers long. The domains display strong preferred orientations involving areas a few hundred nanometers to a few micrometers across.},
doi = {10.1016/j.jnucmat.2014.08.051},
journal = {Journal of Nuclear Materials},
number = C,
volume = 456,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2015},
month = {Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2015}
}
  • Researchers commonly observe high-Zr inclusions in actinide-Zr alloys. As there is very little published data on the crystal structures of these inclusions, it has generally been assumed that the inclusions were impurity-stabilized a-Zr. However, new electron-diffraction data from two high-Zr inclusions in an alloy containing U, Pu, Np, Am, Zr, and rare-earth elements show that these inclusions are not a-Zr (which has a hexagonal structure) but instead have a face-centered cubic structure. This data is unique in that it combines single-crystal diffraction patterns and microchemical analyses from individual inclusions. More data on other high-Zr inclusions is clearly required. However, themore » present results suggest that caution is needed in assuming that all high-Zr inclusions in actinide-Zr alloys are a-Zr.« less
  • Structural, microstructural, and microchemical data were collected from rare-earth inclusions in an as-cast U-Pu-Zr alloy with ~3 at% Am, 2% Np, and 9% rare-earth elements (La, Ce, Pr, and Nd). Two RE phases with different concentrations of Am were identified. The composition of high-Am RE inclusions is ~2-5 at% La, 15-20 % Ce, 5-10% Pr, 25-45% Nd, 1% Np, 5-10% Pu, and 10-20% Am. Some areas also have O, although this does not appear to be an essential part of the high-Am RE phase. The inclusions have a face-centered cubic structure with a lattice parameter a ~ 0.54 nm. Themore » composition of the only low-Am RE inclusion studied in detail is ~~35-40 at% O, 40-45 % Nd, 1-2% Zr, 4-5% La, 9-10% Ce, and 6-7% Pr. This inclusion is an oxide with a crystal structure similar to the room-temperature structure of Nd 2O 3. Microstructural features suggest that oxidation occurred during casting, and that early crystallization of high-temperature oxides led to formation of two distinct RE phases.« less
  • The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is investigating U–Pu–Zr alloys with low concentrations of minor actinides (Np and Am) and rare-earth elements (La, Ce, Pr, and Nd) as possible nuclear fuels to be used to transmute minor actinides. Alloys with compositions 60U–20Pu– 3Am–2Np–15Zr, 42U–30Pu–5Am–3Np–20Zr, 59U–20Pu–3Am–2Np–1RE–15Zr, 58.5U–20Pu– 3Am–2Np–1.5RE–15Zr, 41U–30Pu–5Am–3Np–1RE–20Zr, and 40.5U–30Pu–5Am–3Np–1.5RE– 20Zr (where numbers represent weight percents of each element and RE is a rare-earth alloy consisting of 6% La, 16% Pr, 25% Ce, and 53% Nd by weight) were arc-melted and vacuum cast as fuel pins approximately 4 mmin diameter. The as-cast pins were sectioned, polished, and examined by scanning electronmore » microscopy. Each alloy contains high-Zr inclusions surrounded by a high-actinide matrix. Alloys with rare-earth elements also contain inclusions that are high in these elements. Within the matrix, concentrations of U and Zr vary inversely, while concentrations of Np and Pu appear approximately constant. Am occurs in the matrix and with some high-rare-earth inclusions, and occasionally as high-Am inclusions in samples without rare-earth elements.« less