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Spent-Fuel Dry-Bath Oxidation Testing

Robert E. Einziger, Steven C. Marschman, H. Craig Buchanan

Nuclear Technology

Volume 94 / Number 3 / June 1991 / Pages 383-393


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Multiple samples of moderate-burnup pressurized water reactor (PWR) and boiling water reactor (BWR) spent fuel are oxidized in controlled atmosphere dry baths at 175, 130, and 110° C. The atmosphere consists of air humidified to a dew point of either—55 or +80°C. These tests are run for up to 18.8 kh. The weight gain data from these tests are analyzed using a mathematical model incorporating the assumption that oxidation occurs by rapid grain-boundary oxygen diffusion, followed by oxidation of the individual fuel grains. The BWR fuel appears to oxidize slightly faster than PWR fuel, and the data suggest a possible increase in oxidation rate in moist air. Reasonable agreement is observed between the oxidation rate constants obtained in these long-term tests and prior short-term thermogravimetric analysis oxidation tests.

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