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TEM study of alpha-damaged plutonium and americium dioxides

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 March 2015

Thierry Wiss
Affiliation:
Materials Research Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe 76125, Germany
Oliver Dieste-Blanco*
Affiliation:
Materials Research Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe 76125, Germany
Anca Tacu
Affiliation:
Materials Research Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe 76125, Germany
Arne Janssen
Affiliation:
Materials Research Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe 76125, Germany
Zeynep Talip
Affiliation:
Materials Research Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe 76125, Germany
Jean-Yves Colle
Affiliation:
Materials Research Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe 76125, Germany
Philippe Martin
Affiliation:
CEA, DEN, DEC, Centre d’études nucléaires de Cadarache, Saint Paul Lez Durance 13108, France
Rudy Konings
Affiliation:
European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe 76125, Germany
*
a) Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail: Oliver.DIESTE-BLANCO@ec.europa.eu
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Abstract

Actinide-based nuclear ceramics, oxides particularly, are not only used as fuel in nuclear power reactors (uranium and plutonium) but are also used/envisaged as materials for electrical power sources in space probes (plutonium or americium). These actinides are all alpha-emitters, some having rather short half-lives. As a result of their strong alpha-activity, the actinide-based materials cumulate radiation damage and radiogenic helium. The stability of such materials needs to be assessed and understood for predicting the long-term stability of not only spent fuel in storage/disposal conditions but also of electrical power sources to be used in space probes. This paper describes the specific transmission electron microscope microstructure analyses of aged 238PuO2, 238Pu-doped UO2 (to simulate aged spent nuclear fuel), and of 241AmO2 samples (candidate electrical power source) and makes the correlation of the observed defects with other properties like helium thermal desorption and lattice parameter. It is shown that these fluorite structured materials resist to high alpha-damage levels and can accommodate large quantities of helium.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2015 

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Footnotes

b)

Present address: The University of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK

c)

Present address: Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energie Alternatives, Centre de Marcoule, B.P. 30207 Bagnols-sur-Cèze, France

Contributing Editor: William J. Weber

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