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Improved Irradiation Performance of Uranium-Molybdenum/Aluminum Dispersion Fuel by Silicon Addition in Aluminum

Yeon Soo Kim, G. L. Hofman, A. B. Robinson, D. M. Wachs

Nuclear Technology / Volume 184 / Number 1 / October 2013 / Pages 42-53

Technical Paper / Fuel Design/Defects/Examination / Fuel Performance/Bu/Isotopes /

Uranium-molybdenum fuel particle dispersion in aluminum is a form of fuel under development for conversion of high-power research and test reactors from highly enriched to low-enriched uranium in the U.S. Global Threat Reduction Initiative program (also known as the Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors program). Extensive irradiation tests have been conducted to find a solution for problems caused by interaction layer growth and pore formation between U-Mo and Al. Adding a small amount of Si (up to [approximately]5 wt%) in the Al matrix was one of the proposed remedies. The effect of silicon addition in the Al matrix was examined using irradiation test results by comparing side-by-side samples with different Si additions. Interaction layer growth was progressively reduced with increasing Si addition to the matrix Al, up to 4.8 wt%. The Si addition also appeared to delay pore formation and growth between the U-Mo and Al.