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Title: Production of small uranium dioxide microspheres for cermet nuclear fuel using the internal gelation process

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing a uranium dioxide (UO2)/tungsten cermet fuel for potential use as the nuclear cryogenic propulsion stage (NCPS). The first generation NCPS is expected to be made from dense UO2 microspheres with diameters between 75 and 150 m. Previously, the internal gelation process and a hood-scale apparatus with a vibrating nozzle were used to form gel spheres, which became UO2 kernels with diameters between 350 and 850 m. For the NASA spheres, the vibrating nozzle was replaced with a custom designed, two-fluid nozzle to produce gel spheres in the desired smaller size range. This paper describes the operational methodology used to make 3 kg of uranium oxide microspheres.
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  1. ORNL
  2. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Annals of Nuclear Energy; Journal Volume: 69C
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Work for Others (WFO)
Country of Publication:
United States
internal gelation; uranium kernels; CERMET fuel