The EBR-II X501 Minor Actinide Burning Experiment Page: 4 of 11
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Figure 1. Microstructure of as-cast fuel pin. (a) top section, (b) lower section. Fiducial Bar = 500
The as-cast microstructure at the bottom of the fuel is illustrated by the transverse view in Figure 2(a).
The salient features are a darker gray, irregularly shaped phase in a light matrix. Two areas of mold-melt
interaction are arrowed, A and B. At higher magnification (Figure 3) the irregular phase is found to be
composed of a collection of two different smaller particles. Wavelength dispersive spectroscopy (WDS)
analysis shown in Figure 2(b) indicates that the distribution of americium and neptunium is uniform across
the section and the light colored smaller (5-15 pm) particles are primarily composed of Zr while the larger
dark particles (30-60 pm) have a widely variable composition but contain at most only about 20% Zr. Very
fine (0.5-1.5 pm) round particles termed "beads" were observed internal to the Zr-rich particles and found
to be basically composed of U. Examination of the matrix by WDS (wavelength dispersive spectroscopy)
revealed that the major constituents did not vary radially across the section. A few high Am peaks were
detected, but could not be associated with any particular feature.
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Figure 2. (a) Transverse optical micrograph of the bottom of the as-fabricated U-20.3%Pu-10.0%
Zr-2.1%Am-1.3%Np fuel and (b) wavelength dispersive spectroscopy of A - B line section.
Figure 3. Individual features in bottom section of the fuel. (a) Secondary electron image of the two
particle types; (b) higher magnification secondary electron image of area B.
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Carmack, Jon; Hayes, S. L.; Meyer, M. K. & Tsai, H. The EBR-II X501 Minor Actinide Burning Experiment, article, June 1, 2008; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc893878/m1/4/: accessed April 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.