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Grand potential sintering simulations of doped UO2 accident-tolerant fuel concepts

Author:
Greenquist, Ian  Tonks, Michael  Cooper, Michael  Andersson, David  Zhang, Yongfeng  


Journal:
JOURNAL OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS


Issue Date:
2020


Abstract(summary):

Chromium-doped UO is a widely-studied near-term deployable accident-tolerant fuel concept because it results in a dense, large-grain structure that increases the fuel resistance to densification, swelling, and fission gas release. A new charged-interstitial mechanism was recently proposed to describe the behavior of dopants like chromium in sintered UO2. Based on that mechanism, manganese was suggested as an even stronger dopant than chromium. In the current work we use mesoscale sintering simulations in an effort to validate the new mechanism. We compare the relative behavior of Cr-doped and undoped UO2 against experimental data in the literature. We also make predictions of the relative behavior of Mn-doped UO2. Simulations are done using the phase field-based grand potential sintering model. Dopants have two effects on sintered UO2. They marginally increase the densification rate and greatly increase the average grain size. Both of these effects are individually tested in small-scale simulations. Then large 3D sintering simulations are used to test the combined behavior of both effects. The results for the densification rate simulations are consistent with experiments for Cr-doped fuels. However, the grain growth rates are lower than what is found in the literature for Cr-doped fuels. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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