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Title: Development of a new casting method to fabricate U–Zr alloy containing minor actinides

Metal fuel slugs of U–Zr alloys for a sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) have conventionally been fabricated using an injection casting method. However, casting alloys containing volatile radioactive constituents, such as Am, are problematic in a conventional injection casting method. As an alternative fabrication method, low pressure gravity casting has been developed. Casting soundness, microstructural characteristics, alloying composition, density, and fuel losses were evaluated for the following as-cast fuel slugs: U–10 wt% Zr, U–10 wt% Zr–5 wt% RE, and U–10 wt% Zr–5 wt% RE–5 wt% Mn. The U and Zr contents were uniform throughout the matrix, and impurities such as oxyen, carbon, and nitrogen satisfied the specification of total impurities less than 2,000 ppm. The appearance of the fuel slugs was generally sound, and the internal integrity was shown to be satisfactory based on gamma-ray radiography. In a volatile surrogate casting test, the U–Zr–RE–Mn fuel slug showed that nearly all of the manganese was retained when casting was done under an inert atmosphere.
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry; Journal Volume: 299; Journal Issue: 1
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS; evaporation; fuel loss; gravity casting; metallic fuel slug; sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR)