Skip to main content

Fabrication of UN-Mo CERMET Nuclear Fuel Using Advanced Manufacturing Techniques...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Nuclear Technology
Publication Date
Page Numbers
815 to 824

Ceramic-metallic nuclear fuels are a candidate fuel for nuclear thermal propulsion systems due to their high heat transport properties, which are necessary in very high-temperature environments. The conventional fabrication of uranium nitride–molybdenum fuel has been thoroughly studied in the past, but modern manufacturing techniques have presented a unique opportunity for further development within this field. This work demonstrates the use of advanced manufacturing techniques to produce nuclear fuel pellets composed of uranium nitride microspheres encased in a molybdenum matrix. Binder jetting is used to print molybdenum disks that are filled with uranium nitride microspheres and afterward sintered using spark plasma sintering. Two fuel pellets were fabricated to demonstrate the methodology and to provide a baseline analysis of the effects of temperature and pressure processing conditions. Characterization of the sintered fuel pellets includes detailed microstructural analysis and thermal conductivity measurements.