Tech, Economic Limits to Fuel Burnup Extension (IAEA

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Nucl Mater vol 257 (1998) 78–87. [5] K. NOGITA, K. UNE, Y. KOREI Nucl. Instr. and Meth. in Phys. Res. B116 (1996) 521–526. OWENS J. Nucl Mater vol275 (1999) 12–18. Vallin Université de Grenoble 1999. JOHNSON J. Nucl Mater vol 209 51994° 1–26. J. A. TILLER Metall. Trans. Vol 3 (1972) 1789. [10] J. GRILHE. Europhys. Lett. vol 23 (2) (1993) 141–146. J. MATZKE, A. TUROS J. Nucl Mater vol 188 (1992) 210–215. cm-1 1 220 2 270 3 230 4 190 5 170 Table 2: Grain open surface observation on fabrication pores Distance from 0 to 50 the pellet edge in µm Rolls or subgrain 0,1 size in µm Disordered Observations Round subgrains 150 200 500 to 2000 0,2-0,5 0,3-0,7 0,7 Disordered Round subgrains Ordered Round subgrains Ordered rolls Photo 1a : inside of a pore located at 500 µm from the pellet edge, where subgrains appear on some faces and not on other ones.

Controversies still exist in the interpretation of the formation kinetic or formation steps. The main discussion concerns the mechanisms driving the grain subdivision. In a previous paper [2] we brought an argumentation on the chronology of the rim formation, having the conviction that all the phenomena involved do not start simultaneously at a unique burnup and that the grain subdivision may be not necessarily achieved, depending on the irradiation conditions. Thus, we argued that three or four steps may be observable in the rim formation, in the following sequence: Step 1 — decrease in the matrix-Xenon concentration as detected by EPMA for burnups around and above 55 MWd/kgUO2.

A particular fuel restructuring at high burnups, commonly observed at the periphery of LWR fuel pellets (rim structure), but also in FBR fuels to some extent and in the Plutonium rich clusters of the MOX Fuels, was considered a priori as a limitation for burnup extension. Since more than ten years this rim effect have been deeply investigated. Its causes and consequences are however not yet totally elucidated. 5 to 1 m pores and finally a grain subdivision around the pores. Penalty of the porosity increase on the thermal conductivity is obvious.

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