The conversion of HEU into LEU targets: Production and characterization of the U6Me alloys

Anneleen Decsi, Sven Van den Berghe

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    For reducing nuclear waste, terrorist threats and proliferations risks, HEU targets need to be replaced with LEU targets containing less than 20% of 235U. To maintain the same level of 99Mo production, the uranium concentration of the target must be increased. To allow this conversion, LEU target loadings of 6 gU/cm³ are required. The U6Me alloys are investigated as potential candidates for the LEU targets, because of their high Uloading of 8-9 gU/cm3, their ease of fabrication and the compatibility with the current production process. The U6Me alloys are produced and characterized by XRD, SEM, OM. The U6Fe and U6Co alloys were easily produced, grinded and characterized. The SEM revealed that the main part of these alloys consisted of the desired U6Fe/U6Co-phase, which was already indicated on their XRD patterns. The U6Mn and U6Ni alloys could not be grinded and their production was not easy. Of all the U6Me alloys, U6Mn is expected to be the most favorable for the extraction process, but is the most difficult one to produce. The most favorable for the production process is U6Co, but is the most unfavorable according to its extraction process since it produces highly radioactive 60Co after irradiation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • KU Leuven
    • Leenaers, Ann, Supervisor
    • Van den Berghe, Sven, Supervisor
    Place of PublicationLeuven, Belgium
    StatePublished - Jun 2013

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