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Title: Microscopic analysis of irradiated AGR-1 coated particle fuel compacts

The AGR-1 experiment involved irradiation of 72 TRISO-coated particle fuel compacts to a peak compact-average burnup of 19.5% FIMA with no in-pile failures observed out of 3 x 105 total particles. Irradiated AGR-1 fuel compacts have been cross-sectioned and analyzed with optical microscopy to characterize kernel, buffer, and coating behavior. Six compacts have been examined, spanning a range of irradiation conditions (burnup, fast fluence, and irradiation temperature) and including all four TRISO coating variations irradiated in the AGR-1 experiment. The cylindrical specimens were sectioned both transversely and longitudinally, then polished to expose from 36 to 79 individual particles near midplane on each mount. The analysis focused primarily on kernel swelling and porosity, buffer densification and fracturing, buffer–IPyC debonding, and fractures in the IPyC and SiC layers. Characteristic morphologies have been identified, 981 particles have been classified, and spatial distributions of particle types have been mapped. No significant spatial patterns were discovered in these cross sections. However, some trends were found between morphological types and certain behavioral aspects. Buffer fractures were found in 23% of the particles, and these fractures often resulted in unconstrained kernel protrusion into the open cavities. Fractured buffers and buffers that stayed bonded to IPyC layers appearmore » related to larger pore size in kernels. Buffer–IPyC interface integrity evidently factored into initiation of rare IPyC fractures. Fractures through part of the SiC layer were found in only four classified particles, all in conjunction with IPyC–SiC debonding. Compiled results suggest that the deliberate coating fabrication variations influenced the frequencies of IPyC fractures and IPyC–SiC debonds.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5493
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nuclear Engineering and Design; Journal Volume: 271
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS AGR-1; ceramography; microscopy; post-irradiation examination; TRISO