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Consolidation of commercial-size UO2 fuel pellets using spark plasma sintering and microstructure/microchemical analysis

  • Bowen Gong (a1), Tiankai Yao (a1), Cai Lu (a2), Peng Xu (a2), Edward Lahoda (a2) and Jie Lian (a1)...


The development of advanced fuel fabrication technologies is important for developing accident-tolerant fuels and engineering fuels for safer and more effective nuclear energy systems. In this work, commercial-size uranium dioxide (UO2) fuel pellets with a theoretical density of 95% were consolidated by spark plasma sintering (SPS) at 1600°C for 5 min. Systematic investigations suggest uniform densification and stoichiometric UO2 with an ideal fluorite structure across the commercial-size fuel pellet, but with a distributed grain structure because of non-uniform distribution of temperature during sintering. This work demonstrates a great potential of using SPS for fabricating nuclear fuels at a cost-effective manner.


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