During neutron irradiation in nuclear power plants, uranium dioxide (UO2), the most used nuclear fuel, changes gradually its chemical composition because of the incorporation of new chemical elements which are created by fissions and named Fission Products (FP). As a consequence, the fluorine-type crystalline structure and its lattice parameters may also be modified. In order to better understand this behavior, neodymium-doped UO2 ceramics have been prepared with the aim to simulate the crystallographic matrix of irradiated fuels, since Nd is one of the most abundant FP. In a previous work, high temperature X-ray diffraction was performed on a sample (U0.72Nd0.28)O2, annealed under reducing conditions. The diffractograms evidenced, for the first time, the existence of a miscibility gap in the U-Nd-O system.
In this paper, we present the first results of a thermodynamic modeling of the ternary system U-Nd-O based on the CAlculation of PHAse Diagrams (CALPHAD) method, in order to obtain a complete description of this miscibility gap. The very first results of this modeling seem to confirm the presence of a region presenting two FCC (fluorite) phases (instead of a single solid solution, which is expected from literature). At room temperature, the gap appears from a Nd content as small as about 0.02 at. % and an O/M ratio slightly lower than 2.