Experimental and theoretical studies of nitride fuels
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
With respect to nitrides being considered as potential fast reactor fuels, research is conducted on the out-of-pile thermophysical properties, sintering and fabrication processes, gas migration mechanisms, self-diffusion and point defect behaviour of actinide nitrides, their surrogate materials, and the inert matrix material ZrN . The experimental research, carried out in the framework of qualifying fuel for the European Lead Cooled Training Reactor (ELECTRA), shows that sintered ZrN and (Dy,Zr)N pellet densities are influenced by the oxygen concentration in the material. The effect is confirmed in sintered (Pu,Zr)N pellets. Oxygen concentration also plays a role in the thermophysical properties of inert matrix nitride fuels, but does not have an impact on the electrical properties of these materials. With the fuel fabrication methods applied here, clean nitride powders can be synthesized. However, the subsequent fabrication phases, including milling and solid solution formation, increases the impurity levels significantly. Research of equal importance is performed on materials free of fabrication-induced impurities, whose properties are studied by employing first-principles methods. ZrN, UN and (U,Zr)N are studied, whereas the results from ZrN are expected to be applicable for actinide nitrides as a first approximation. The migration of noble gases in ZrN, on the atomic scale, confirms the experimentally observed tendency for noble gases with higher atomic number to be retained in the fuel matrix, while the majority of He is released to the fuel pin. Materials modelling implies that self-diffusion of nitrogen and metal atoms in inert matrix nitride fuels is accelerated under irradiation, since noble gas retention reduces migration barriers which govern self-diffusion. Unlike Kr and Xe, He has the capacity to be released into the fuel matrix, after having been trapped in a vacancy. The results are expected to aid in providing an explanation to the macroscopic diffusion phenomena in nitride fuels, as the diffusion behaviour of noble gases is sparsely studied. In addition, a study on the miscibility of ZrN and UN in a narrow composition range suggests solubility, based on the negative mixing energies. The results obtained from research on inert matrix nitride fuel underline several beneficial properties which are desirable in a fast reactor fuel. The relevance of these results is analyzed and contextualized in the thesis, from the perspective of current research and development in the field.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2013. , x, 74 p.
Trita-FYS, ISSN 0280-316X ; 12013:18
fast reactor fuel, ab-initio modelling, fuel fabrication, inert matrix nitride fuel
Condensed Matter Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-123521ISBN: 978-91-7501-794-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-123521DiVA: diva2:626972
2013-06-14, FD5, AlbaNova University Center, Roslagstullsbacken 21, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Ogawa, Toru, Professor
Wallenius, Janne, Professor
QC 201306112013-06-112013-06-102013-06-11Bibliographically approved
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