Synthesis and Characterization of Oxide Feedstock Powders for the Fuel Cycle R&D Program

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Nuclear fuel feedstock properties, such as physical, chemical, and isotopic characteristics, have a significant impact on the fuel fabrication process and, by extension, the in-reactor fuel performance. This has been demonstrated through studies with UO{sub 2} spanning greater than 50 years. The Fuel Cycle R&D Program with The Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy has initiated an effort to develop a better understanding of the relationships between oxide feedstock, fresh fuel properties, and in-reactor fuel performance for advanced mixed oxide compositions. Powder conditioning studies to enable the use of less than ideal powders for ceramic fuel pellet processing are ... continued below

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Voit, Stewart L.; Vedder, Raymond James & Johnson, Jared A September 1, 2010.

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Nuclear fuel feedstock properties, such as physical, chemical, and isotopic characteristics, have a significant impact on the fuel fabrication process and, by extension, the in-reactor fuel performance. This has been demonstrated through studies with UO{sub 2} spanning greater than 50 years. The Fuel Cycle R&D Program with The Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy has initiated an effort to develop a better understanding of the relationships between oxide feedstock, fresh fuel properties, and in-reactor fuel performance for advanced mixed oxide compositions. Powder conditioning studies to enable the use of less than ideal powders for ceramic fuel pellet processing are ongoing at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and an understanding of methods to increase the green density and homogeneity of pressed pellets has been gained for certain powders. Furthermore, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is developing methods for the co-conversion of mixed oxides along with techniques to analyze the degree of mixing. Experience with the fabrication of fuel pellets using co-synthesized multi-constituent materials is limited. In instances where atomically mixed solid solutions of two or more species are needed, traditional ceramic processing methods have been employed. Solution-based processes may be considered viable synthesis options, including co-precipitation (AUPuC), direct precipitation, direct-conversion (Modified Direct Denitration or MDD) and internal/external gelation (sol-gel). Each of these techniques has various advantages and disadvantages. The Fiscal Year 2010 feedstock development work at ORNL focused on the synthesis and characterization of one batch of UO{sub x} and one batch of U{sub 80}Ce{sub 20}O{sub x}. Oxide material synthesized at ORNL is being shipped to LANL for fuel fabrication process development studies. The feedstock preparation was performed using the MDD process which utilizes a rotary kiln to continuously thermally denitrate double salts of ammonium and metals to produce free-flowing powders that have good ceramic properties for fuel fabrication. Feedstock powder properties of interest include: particle size and distribution, surface area, phase purity, morphology, tap and bulk density, and flow characteristics.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2010/215
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/990700 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 990700
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1015230

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  • September 1, 2010

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  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Nov. 2, 2017, 6:25 p.m.

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Voit, Stewart L.; Vedder, Raymond James & Johnson, Jared A. Synthesis and Characterization of Oxide Feedstock Powders for the Fuel Cycle R&D Program, report, September 1, 2010; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1015230/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.