Fuel swelling and interaction layer formation in the SELENIUM Si and ZrN coated U(Mo) dispersion fuel plates irradiated at high power in BR2

Ann Leenaers, Sven Van den Berghe, Edgar Koonen, Vadim Kuzminov, Christophe Detavernier

Research outputpeer-review


In the framework of the SELENIUM project two full size flat fuel plates were produced with respectively Si and ZrN coated U(Mo) particles and irradiated in the BR2 reactor at SCKCEN. Non-destructive analysis of the plates showed that the fuel swelling profiles of both SELENIUM plates were very similar to each other and none of the plates showed signs of pillowing or excessive swelling at the end of irradiation at the highest power position (local maximum 70% 235U). The microstructural analysis showed that the Si coated fuel has less interaction phase formation at low burn-up but at the highest burn-ups, defects start to develop on the IL–matrix interface. The ZrN coated fuel, shows a virtual absence of reaction between the U(Mo) and the Al, up to high fission densities after which the interaction layer formation starts and defects develop in the matrix near the U(Mo) particles. It was found and is confirmed by the SELENIUM (Surface Engineering of Low ENrIched Uranium–Molybdenum) experiment that there are two phenomena at play that need to be controlled: the formation of an interaction layer and swelling of the fuel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-393
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Issue number03
StatePublished - Jan 2015

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