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Title: Scanning Electron Microscopy Analysis of Fuel/Matrix Interaction Layers in Highly-Irradiated U–Mo Dispersion Fuel Plates with Al and Al–Si Alloy Matrices

In order to investigate how the microstructure of fuel/matrix-interaction (FMI) layers change during irradiation, different U–7Mo dispersion fuel plates have been irradiated to high fission density and then characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Specifially, samples from irradiated U–7Mo dispersion fuel elements with pure Al, Al–2Si and AA4043 (~4.5 wt.%Si) matrices were SEM characterized using polished samples and samples that were prepared with a focused ion beam (FIB). Features not observable for the polished samples could be captured in SEM images taken of the FIB samples. For the Al matrix sample, a relatively large FMI layer develops, with enrichment of Xe at the FMI layer/Al matrix interface and evidence of debonding. Overall, a significant penetration of Si from the FMI layer into the U–7Mo fuel was observed for samples with Si in the Al matrix, which resulted in a change of the size (larger) and shape (round) of the fission-gas bubbles. Additionally, solid-fission-product phases were observed to nucleate and grow within these bubbles. These changes in the localized regions of the microstructure of the U–7Mo may contribute to changes observed in the macroscopic swelling of fuel plates with Al–Si matrices.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1738-5733
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nuclear Engineering and Technology; Journal Volume: 46; Journal Issue: 2
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; ELECTRON MICROSCOPY; MICROSTRUCTURE; NUCLEAR FUELS; RESEARCH REACTORS electron microscopy; microstructure; nuclear fuel; research reactor; uranium molybdenum alloy