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Title: Uranium-233 purification and conversion to stabilized ceramic grade urania for LWBR fuel fabrication (LWBR Development Program)

Technical Report ·
DOI:· OSTI ID:6710867

High purity ceramic grade urania (/sup 233/UO/sub 2/) used in manufacturing the fuel for the Light Water Breeder Reactor (LWBR) core was made from uranium-233 that was obtained by irradiating thoria under special conditions to result in not more than 10 ppM of uranium-232 in the recovered uranium-233 product. A developmental study established the operating parameters of the conversion process for transforming the uranium-233 into urania powder with the appropriate chemical and physical attributes for use in fabricating the LWBR core fuel. This developmental study included the following: (a) design of an ion exchange purification process for removing the gamma-emitting alpha-decay daughters of uranium-232, to reduce the gamma-radiation field of the uranium-233 during LWBR fuel manufacture; (b) definition of the parameters for precipitating the uranium-233 as ammonium uranate (ADU) and for reducing the ADU with hydrogen to yield a urania conversion product of the proper particle size, surface area and sinterability for use in manufacturing the LWBR fuel; (c) establishment of parameters and design of equipment for stabilizing the urania conversion product to prevent it from undergoing excessive oxidation on exposure to the air during LWBR fuel manufacturing operations; and (d) development of a procedure and a facility to reprocess the unirradiated thoria-urania fuel scrap from the LWBR core manufacturing operations to recover the uranium-233 and convert it into high purity ceramic grade urania for LWBR core fabrication.

Research Organization:
Bettis Atomic Power Lab. (BAPL), West Mifflin, PA (United States)
DOE Contract Number:
Report Number(s):
WAPD-TM-1422; TRN: 81-002957
Country of Publication:
United States