Description: Microstructural evolution in Zircaloy-2 and -4 spent-fuel cladding specimens after approx.3 years of irradiation in commercial power reactors has been investigated by TEM and HVEM. Two kinds of precipitates induced by the fast-neutron irradiation in the reactors have been identified, i.e., Zr/sub 3/O and cubic-ZrO/sub 2/ particles approximately 2 to 10 nm in size. By means of a weak-beam dark-field ''2-1/2D-microscopy'' technique, the bulk nature of the precipitates and the surficial nature of artifact oxide and hydride phases could be discerned. The Zr(Fe/sub x/,Cr/sub 1-x/)/sub 2/ and Zr/sub 2/(Fe/sub x/,Ni/sub 1-x/) intermetallic precipitates normally present in the as-fabricated material virtually dissolved in the spent-fuel cladding specimens after a fast-neutron fluence of approx.4 x 10/sup 21/ ncm/sup -2/ in the power reactors. The observed radiation-induced phase transformations are compared with predictions based on the currently available understanding of the alloy characteristics. 29 refs.
Date: April 1, 1986
Creator: Chung, H.M.
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