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The Application of the Electron Microprobe in the Analysis of Nuclear Fuel Meltdown Experiments*

  • S. J. Stachura (a1) and L. Cooper (a1)

Abstract

Transient (nuclear) heating experiments were conducted with uranium carbide fuel rods to study the failure characteristics of typical rod designs. Extremely unusual changes in microstructure were observed and the electron microprobe was employed to establish the disposition of materials resulting from the meltdown experiments. The probe results indicated substantial fuel-clad interactions and permitted the resolution of several uncertainties regarding the course of fuel rod failure and material redistribution. The electron microprobe represents a unique capability in the post-test analysis of such meltdown tests.

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*

Based upon studies conducted for the USAEC under Contract AT-(11-1)-GEN-8.

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1. Stachura, S. J. et al., “Uranium Carbide Transient Heating Studies—Phase H,” ANS Trans. 8: 305, 1965.
2. Stachura, S. J. and Silberberg, M., “The Application of Experimental Data from TREAT Meltdown Studies to Reactor Accident Analysis,” Proc, of the International Conference on Safety, Fuels, and Core Design in Large Fast Power Reactors, ANL-7120, 1965, p. 514.
3. Nichols, J. A. and Marples, J. A. C., “An Investigation of the U-C-Fe and Pu-C-Fe Ternary Phase Diagrams with Some Observations on the U-Pu-C-Fe Quaternary,” in: Proc. of a Symposium held at Harwell, November 1963, Carbides in Nuclear Energy, Vol. I, Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1964, p. 246.
4. Briggs, G. et al., “Phase Relationships in the Systems U-Cr-C, U-Ni-C, and U-Fe-Cr-C,” ibid., p. 231.
5. Briggs, G. et al., “Systems of UC, UO2, and UN with Transition Metals,” Trans. Brit. Ceram. Soc. 62: 221, 1963.
6. Walter, C. M. and Kelman, L. R., “Penetration Rate Studies of Stainless Steel by Molcen Uranium and Uranium-Fission Alloy,” J. Nucl. Mater.- 6: 281, 1962.
7. Walter, C. M. and Dickerman, C. E., “Treat Study of the Penetration of Molten Uranium and U/S wt.% Fs Alloy through Type 304 Stainless Steel,” Nud. Sci. Eng. 18: 518, 1964.

The Application of the Electron Microprobe in the Analysis of Nuclear Fuel Meltdown Experiments*

  • S. J. Stachura (a1) and L. Cooper (a1)

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