Investigation of Fission-Induced Recrystallization in U-Mo Fuels

Principal Investigator: Assel Aitkaliyeva

Sponsor: Department of Energy

Start Date: December 6, 2017

End Date: September 3, 2020

Amount: $180,000

Abstract

Scope of Work: The Material Management and Minimization (M3) Program is tasked with the development of new low-enriched uranium (LEU) nuclear fuels that can be employed to replace existing highly-enriched uranium (HEU) fuels currently used in various research reactors throughout the world. As part of this program, it is important to understand U-Mo fuel performance under irradiation, and one phenomena that is of particular interest is fission induced recrystallization since it can impact the swelling of the fuel. Currently, this phenomenon is not well understood and warrants further investigation.

In order to study this phenomenon, it is necessary to characterize the development of fission gas bubbles in irradiated fuel samples. To do this porous samples are polished and then analyzed using image analysis techniques. Recent research in this area has shown that sample preparation can impact the final size, distribution, and morphology of the bubbles that are to be evaluated. Additionally, it has been shown that the results of image analysis will depend on the approach that is selected.