skip to main content

Title: Microstructural Characteristics of HIP-bonded Monolithic Nuclear Fuels with a Diffusion Barrier

Due to the limitation of maximum uranium load achievable by dispersion fuel type, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) is developing an advanced monolithic fuel to convert US high performance research reactors to low-enriched uranium. Hot-isostatic-press bonding was the single process down-selected to bond monolithic U-Mo fuel meat to aluminum alloy cladding. A diffusion barrier was applied to the U–Mo fuel meat by roll-bonding process to prevent extensive interaction between fuel meat and aluminum-alloy cladding. Microstructural characterization was performed on fresh fuel plates fabricated at Idaho National Laboratory. Interfaces between fuel meat, cladding, and diffusion barrier, as well as U–10Mo fuel meat and Al–6061 cladding were characterized by scanning electron microscopy. Preliminary results indicate that the interfaces contain many different phases while decomposition, second phases, and chemical banding were also observed in the fuel meat. The important attributes of the HIP-bonded monolithic fuel are • A typical Zr diffusion barrier of thickness 25 µm • Transverse cross section that exhibits relatively equiaxed grains with an average grain diameter of 10 µm • Chemical banding, in some areas more than 100 µm in length, that is very pronounced in longitudinal (i.e., rolling) direction with Mo concentration varying from 7–13 wt% •more » Decomposed areas containing plate-shaped low-Mo phase • A typical Zr/cladding interaction layer of thickness 1-2 µm • A visible UZr2 bearing layer of thickness 1-2 µm • Mo-rich precipitates (mainly Mo2Zr, forming a layer in some areas) followed by a Mo-depleted sub-layer between the visible UZr2-bearing layer and the U–Mo matrix • No excessive interaction between cladding and the uncoated fuel edge • Cladding-to-cladding bonding that exhibits no cracks or porosity with second phases high in Mg, Si, and O decorating the bond line. • Some of these attributes might be critical to the irradiation performance of monolithic U-10Mo nuclear fuel. There are several issues or concerns that warrant more detailed study, such as precipitation along cladding-to-cladding bond line, chemical banding, uncovered fuel-zone edge, and interaction layer between U–Mo fuel meat and zirconium. Future post-irradiation examination results will focus, among other things, on identifying in-reactor failure mechanisms and, eventually, directing further fresh fuel characterization efforts.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1133882
Report Number(s):
INL/JOU-13-30161
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Nuclear Materials; Journal Volume: 448; Journal Issue: 1 - 3
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
DOE - NE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY diffusion barrier; microstructure; monolithic; nuclear fuel; U-Mo