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Title: Coated U(Mo) Fuel: As-Fabricated Microstructures

As part of the development of low-enriched uranium fuels, fuel plates have recently been tested in the BR-2 reactor as part of the SELENIUM experiment. These fuel plates contained fuel particles with either Si or ZrN thin film coating (up to 1 µm thickness) around the U-7Mo fuel particles. In order to best understand irradiation performance, it is important to determine the starting microstructure that can be observed in as-fabricated fuel plates. To this end, detailed microstructural characterization was performed on ZrN and Si-coated U-7Mo powder in samples taken from AA6061-clad fuel plates fabricated at 500°C. Of interest was the condition of the thin film coatings after fabrication at a relatively high temperature. Both scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy were employed. The ZrN thin film coating was observed to consist of columns comprised of very fine ZrN grains. Relatively large amounts of porosity could be found in some areas of the thin film, along with an enrichment of oxygen around each of the the ZrN columns. In the case of the pure Si thin film coating sample, a (U,Mo,Al,Si) interaction layer was observed around the U-7Mo particles. Apparently, the Si reacted with the U-7Mo and Al matrix duringmore » fuel plate fabrication at 500°C to form this layer. The microstructure of the formed layer is very similar to those that form in U-7Mo versus Al-Si alloy diffusion couples annealed at higher temperatures and as-fabricated U-7Mo dispersion fuel plates with Al-Si alloy matrix fabricated at 500°C.« less
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Conference: Research Reactor Fuel Management Conference,Ljubljana Slovenia,03/30/2014,04/03/2014
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Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
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Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; coatings; nuclear fuel; uranium