Effect of fission rate on the microstructure of coated UMo dispersion fuel

Ann Leenaers, Yves Parthoens, Guy Cornelis, Vadim Kuzminov, Sven Van den Berghe, Edgar Koonen, Bei Ye, Gerard L. Hofmann, Jason Schulthess

Research outputpeer-review


Compared to previous irradiation experiments containing UMo/Al dispersion fuel plates, the SELENIUM irradiation experiment performed at the SCK·CEN BR2 reactor in 2012 showed an improved plate swelling behavior. However, in the high burn-up area of the plates a significant increase in meat thickness was still measured. The origin of this increase is currently not firmly established, but it is clear from the observed microstructure that the swelling rate still is too high for practical purposes and needs to be reduced. It was stipulated that the swelling occurred at the high burnup areas which are also the high power zones at beginning of life. For that reason, an experiment was proposed to investigate the influence of fission rate (i.e. power) on some of the observed phenomena. For this purpose, a sibling plate to a high power (BOL>470 W/cm2) SELENIUM plate was irradiated during four BR2 cycles. The SELENIUM 1a fuel plate was submitted to a local maximum heat flux below 350 W/cm2, throughout the full irradiation. At the end of the last cycle, the SELENIUM 1a fuel plate reached a maximum local burnup value of close to 75%235U compared to 70%235U for the SELENIUM high power plates. When comparing to the results on the SELENIUM plates, the non-destructive tests clearly show a continued linear swelling behavior of the low power irradiated fuel plate SELENIUM 1a in the high burn-up region. The influence of the fission rate is also evidenced in the microstructural examination of the fuel showing that there is no formation of interaction layer at the high burn-up region.
Original languageEnglish
Article number494
Pages (from-to)10-19
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

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