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Postirradiation Examination from Separate Effects Irradiation Testing of Uranium Nitride Kernels and Coated Particles...

by Jason M Harp, Robert N Morris, Christian M Petrie, Joseph R Burns, Kurt A Terrani
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Journal of Nuclear Materials
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An overview of postirradiation examination results for uranium nitride kernels and uranium nitride coated particles irradiated in the High Flux Isotope Reactor are presented. This is the first postirradiation examination of the MiniFuel irradiation vehicle that was recently developed to rapidly accumulate burnup during separate effects irradiation testing. In general, the burnup and fuel temperatures measured postirradiation were consistent with the design calculations. The burnup measured by mass spectrometry ranged from 5.9 to 10 MWd/kgU and was achieved after only 68 effective full-power days of irradiation. The dilatometric evaluation of passive silicon carbide thermometry indicated that the fuel was irradiated at temperatures ranging from 410 to 460 °C. Because the irradiation temperatures and burnup were low, the UN kernels showed minimal fission gas release that was within the range of the expected recoil (athermal) release. While it is possible to measure fuel swelling using x-ray computed tomography, the observed swelling was too small to quantify in this case. Extensive microstructural characterization of the irradiated fuel was performed, and no significant irradiation induced changes were observed.