Interdiffusion, Reactions, and Phase Transformations Observed during Fabrication of Low Enriched Uranium Monolithic Fuel System for Research and Test Reactors


Article Preview

Monolithic fuel plates have been developed utilizing low enriched U alloyed with 10 wt.% Mo to replace highly enriched fuels in research and test reactors, in accordance with the goals of the Materials Management and Minimization Reactor Conversion Program. The fuel plates consist of U10Mo fuel, Zr diffusion barrier, and AA6061 cladding. They are fabricated by co-rolling the U10Mo and Zr, which are then encapsulated via hot isostatic pressing of the entire U10Mo/Zr/AA6061 assembly. During fabrication, the metal constituents of the fuel plates undergo phase transformations as well as interdiffusion and reactions at interfaces. The areas of interest are the U10Mo fuel, U10Mo/Zr interface, U10Mo/AA6061 interface, Zr/AA6061 interface, and AA6061-AA6061 bond line. Knowledge of the transformations and growth in the plates is necessary to optimize fabrication parameters and predict behavior as they relate to irradiation performance. Numerous studies have been conducted to analyze these reactions in monolithic fuel plates, and a summary of their observations is provided in this paper.



Edited by:

Prof. Eugen Rabkin, Amy Novick-Cohen, Leonid Klinger and Nachum Frage




R. Newell et al., "Interdiffusion, Reactions, and Phase Transformations Observed during Fabrication of Low Enriched Uranium Monolithic Fuel System for Research and Test Reactors", Defect and Diffusion Forum, Vol. 383, pp. 10-16, 2018

Online since:

February 2018




* - Corresponding Author

[1] D.D. Keiser Jr, S. Hayes, M.K. Meyer, C. Clark, High-density, low-enriched uranium fuel for nuclear research reactors, Journal of Materials 55(9) (2003) 55-58.

DOI: 10.1007/s11837-003-0031-0

[2] S. Parida, S. Dash, Z. Singh, R. Prasad, V. Venugopal, Thermodynamic studies on uranium–molybdenum alloys, Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids 62(3) (2001) 585-597.

DOI: 10.1016/s0022-3697(00)00219-5

[3] V. Sinha, G. Prasad, P. Hegde, R. Keswani, C. Basak, S. Pal, G. Mishra, Development, preparation and characterization of uranium molybdenum alloys for dispersion fuel application, Journal of Alloys and Compounds 473(1) (2009) 238-244.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2008.05.061

[4] V. Sinha, P. Hegde, G. Prasad, G. Dey, H. Kamath, Effect of molybdenum addition on metastability of cubic γ-uranium, Journal of Alloys and Compounds 491(1) (2010) 753-760.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2009.11.060

[5] D.E. Burkes, T. Hartmann, R. Prabhakaran, J.F. Jue, Microstructural characteristics of DU–xMo alloys with x = 7–12 wt%, Journal of Alloys and Compounds 479(1–2) (2009) 140-147.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2008.12.063

[6] J.F. Jue, B.H. Park, C.R. Clark, G.A. Moore, D.D. Keiser Jr, Fabrication of monolithic RERTR fuels by Hot Isostatic Pressing, Nuclear Technology 172(2) (2010) 204-210.

DOI: 10.13182/nt10-a10905

[7] M.K. Meyer, J. Gan, J. -F. Jue, D.D. Keiser Jr, E. Perez, A. Robinson, D.M. Wachs, N. Woolstenhulme, G.L. Hofman, Y.S. Kim, Irradiation performance of U-Mo monolithic fuel, Nuclear Engineering and Technology 46(2) (2014) 169-182.

DOI: 10.5516/net.07.2014.706

[8] G.A. Moore, M.C. Marshall, Co-Rolled U10Mo/Zirconium-Barrier-Layer Monolithic Fuel Foil Fabrication Process, ; Idaho National Laboratory (INL), 2010, p. Medium: ED.

DOI: 10.2172/978364

[9] P. Repas, R. Goodenow, R. Hehemann, Transformation characteristics of U-Mo and U-Mo-Ti alloys, Trans. Am. Soc. Metals 57 (1964).

[10] H. Saller, F. Rough, A. Bauer, Transformation kinetics of uranium-molybdenum alloys, Battelle Memorial Inst., Columbus, Ohio, (1954).

DOI: 10.2172/4376847

[11] R. Van Thyne, D. McPherson, Transformation kinetics of uranium-molybdenum alloys, Trans. ASM 49 (1957) 598-621.

[12] C. Peterson, W. Steele, S. DiGiallonardo, Isothermal transformation study of some uranium-base alloys, California. Univ., Livermore. Lawrence Radiation Lab., (1964).

DOI: 10.2172/4672623

[13] Y. Park, N. Eriksson, R. Newell, D.D. Keiser Jr, Y.H. Sohn, Phase decomposition of γ-U (bcc) in U-10 wt% Mo fuel alloy during hot isostatic pressing of monolithic fuel plate, Journal of Nuclear Materials 480 (2016) 271-280.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2016.08.022

[14] J. -F. Jue, D.D. Keiser Jr, C.R. Breckenridge, G.A. Moore, M.K. Meyer, Microstructural characteristics of HIP-bonded monolithic nuclear fuels with a diffusion barrier, Journal of Nuclear Materials 448(1) (2014) 250-258.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2014.02.004

[15] J. -F. Jue, T.L. Trowbridge, C.R. Breckenridge, G.A. Moore, M.K. Meyer, D.D. Keiser Jr, Effects of heat treatment on U–Mo fuel foils with a zirconium diffusion barrier, Journal of Nuclear Materials 460 (2015) 153-159.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2015.02.017

[16] Y. Park, N. Eriksson, D.D. Keiser Jr, J. -F. Jue, B. Rabin, G. Moore, Y.H. Sohn, Microstructural anomalies in hot-isostatic pressed U–10 wt. % Mo fuel plates with Zr diffusion barrier, Materials Characterization 103 (2015) 50-57.

DOI: 10.1016/j.matchar.2015.03.015

[17] V.K. Orlov, V.S. Sergeev, M.A. Fomishkin, A.A. Rostovtsev, A.K. Kruglov, Carbon Diffusion in Uranium during Thermal Reprocessing in Vacuum, Atomic Energy 95(2) (2003) 536-539.

DOI: 10.1023/a:1026345701748

[18] A. Nomine, D. Bedere, D. Miannay, Influence of physio-chemical parameters on the mechanical properties of some isotropic uranium alloys, Physical Metallurgy of Uranium Alloys (1976).

[19] K. Huang, C.C. Kammerer, D.D. Keiser Jr, Y.H. Sohn, Diffusion barrier selection from refractory metals (Zr, Mo and Nb) via interdiffusion investigation for U-Mo RERTR fuel alloy, Journal of Phase Equilibria and Diffusion 35(2) (2013) 146-156.

DOI: 10.1007/s11669-013-0270-x

[20] K. Huang, Y. Park, D.D. Keiser Jr, Y.H. Sohn, Interdiffusion between Zr diffusion barrier and U-Mo alloy, Journal of Phase Equilibria and Diffusion 33(6) (2012) 443-449.

DOI: 10.1007/s11669-012-0106-0

[21] E. Perez, B. Yao, D.D. Keiser Jr, Y.H. Sohn, Microstructural analysis of as-processed U–10 wt. %Mo monolithic fuel plate in AA6061 matrix with Zr diffusion barrier, Journal of Nuclear Materials 402(1) (2010) 8-14.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2010.04.016

[22] Y. Park, J. Yoo, K. Huang, D.D. Keiser Jr, J. -F. Jue, B. Rabin, G. Moore, Y.H. Sohn, Growth kinetics and microstructural evolution during hot isostatic pressing of U-10 wt. % Mo monolithic fuel plate in AA6061 cladding with Zr diffusion barrier, Journal of Nuclear Materials 447(1–3) (2014).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2014.01.018

[23] A. Robinson, D. Perez, D. Porter, G. Chang, D.D. Keiser Jr, D. Wachs, G. Hofman, Irradiation Performance of U-Mo Alloy Based Monolithic, Plate-Type—Design Selection Update [INL/EXT-09-16807, Rev. 1], (2013).

DOI: 10.2172/968567

[24] D.D. Keiser Jr, J. -F. Jue, B. Miller, J. Gan, A. Robinson, P. Medvedev, J. Madden, D. Wachs, C. Clark, M.K. Meyer, Microstructural characterization of the U-9. 1Mo fuel/AA6061 cladding interface in friction-bonded monolithic fuel plates irradiated in the RERTR-6 experiment, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions E 2(3) (2015).

DOI: 10.1007/s40553-015-0055-8

[25] T. Bierlein, D. Green, The diffusion of uranium into aluminum, Nuclear Science and Engineering 2(6) (1957) 778-786.

[26] E. Perez, D.D. Keiser Jr, Y.H. Sohn, Phase constituents and microstructure of interaction layer formed in U-Mo Alloys vs Al diffusion couples annealed at 873 K (600 °C), Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A 42(10) (2011) 3071-3083.

DOI: 10.1007/s11661-011-0733-9

[27] A. Mehta, L. Zhou, E. Schulz, D.D. Keiser Jr, J.I. Cole, Y. Sohn, Microstructural characterization of AA6061 vs. AA6061 HIP bonded cladding–cladding interface, Journal of Materials Processing Tech. (Submitted) (2017).

[28] R. Newell, A. Mehta, Y.J. Park, Y.H. Sohn, J. -F. Jue, D.D. Keiser Jr, Relating diffusion couple experiment results to observed as-fabricated microstructures in low-enriched U-10wt. % Mo monolithic fuel plates, Defect and Diffusion Forum, Trans Tech Publ, 2017, pp.18-28.

DOI: 10.4028/

[29] A. Nomine, D. Bedere, D. Miannay, J. Burke, D. Colling, A. Gorum, J. Greenspan, Physical Metallurgy of Uranium Alloys: Third Army Materials Technology Conference, Brook Hill Publishing Company, Vail, Colorado, (1974).

[30] M. Waldron, R. Burnett, S. Pugh, The mechanical properties of uranium-molybdenum alloys, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. Research Group. Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell, Berks, England, (1958).

[31] D.E. Burkes, R. Prabhakaran, T. Hartmann, J. -F. Jue, F.J. Rice, Properties of DU–10wt% Mo alloys subjected to various post-rolling heat treatments, Nuclear Engineering and Design 240(6) (2010) 1332-1339.

DOI: 10.1016/j.nucengdes.2010.02.008

[32] D.E. Burkes, R. Prabhakaran, J. -F. Jue, F.J. Rice, Mechanical properties of DU-xMo alloys with x = 7 to 12 weight percent, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A 40(5) (2009) 1069-1079.

DOI: 10.1007/s11661-009-9805-5

[33] R. Newell, Y. Park, A. Mehta, D.D. Keiser Jr, Y.H. Sohn, Mechanical properties examined by nanoindentation for selected phases relevant to the development of monolithic uranium-molybdenum metallic fuels, Journal of Nuclear Materials 487(2017).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2017.02.018

[34] D.W. Brown, D.J. Alexander, K.D. Clarke, B. Clausen, M.A. Okuniewski, T.A. Sisneros, Elastic properties of rolled uranium–10 wt. % molybdenum nuclear fuel foils, Scripta Materialia 69(9) (2013) 666-669.

DOI: 10.1016/j.scriptamat.2013.07.025

[35] H. Ozaltun, M.H. Herman Shen, P. Medvedev, Assessment of residual stresses on U10Mo alloy based monolithic mini-plates during hot isostatic pressing, Journal of Nuclear Materials 419(1–3) (2011) 76-84.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2011.08.029

[36] J. Crapps, K. Clarke, J. Katz, D.J. Alexander, B. Aikin, V.D. Vargas, J.D. Montalvo, D.E. Dombrowski, B. Mihaila, Development of the hot isostatic press manufacturing process for monolithic nuclear fuel, Nuclear Engineering and Design 254 (2013).

DOI: 10.1016/j.nucengdes.2012.09.002

[37] Y.S. Kim, G.L. Hofman, J.S. Cheon, A.B. Robinson, D.M. Wachs, Fission induced swelling and creep of U–Mo alloy fuel, Journal of Nuclear Materials 437(1) (2013) 37-46.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2013.01.346

[38] D. Dombrowski, C. Liu, M. Lovato, D. Alexander, K. Clarke, N. Mara, W. Mook, M. Prime, D. Brown, B. Clausen, Experimental investigation of bonding strength and residual stresses in HIP clad fuel plates, Advances in Powder Metallurgy and Particulate Materials (2013).

[39] D.W. Brown, M.A. Okuniewski, T.A. Sisneros, B. Clausen, G.A. Moore, L. Balogh, Neutron diffraction measurement of residual stresses, dislocation density and texture in Zr-bonded U-10Mo mini, fuel foils and plates, Journal of Nuclear Materials 482 (2016).

DOI: 10.2172/1136458

Fetching data from Crossref.
This may take some time to load.