Nuclear Technology / Volume 172 / Number 2 / November 2010 / Pages 204-210
Technical Paper / Materials for Nuclear Systems
The Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors (RERTR) program develops advanced nuclear fuels for high-power test reactors. Monolithic fuel design provides higher uranium loading than that of the traditional dispersion fuel design. Hot isostatic pressing is a promising process for low-cost batch fabrication of monolithic RERTR fuel plates for these high-power reactors. Bonding U-Mo fuel foil and 6061-Al cladding by hot isostatic press bonding was successfully developed at Idaho National Laboratory. Because of the relatively high processing temperature, the interaction between fuel meat and aluminum cladding is a concern. Two different methods were employed to mitigate this effect: a diffusion barrier and a doping addition to the interface. Both types of fuel plates have been fabricated by hot isostatic press bonding. Preliminary results show that the direct fuel/cladding interaction during the bonding process was eliminated by introducing a thin zirconium diffusion barrier layer between the fuel and the cladding. Fuel plates were also produced and characterized with a silicon-rich interlayer between fuel and cladding. This paper reports the recent progress of this developmental effort and identifies the areas that need further attention.