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  • A modified Embedded-Atom Method interatomic potential for uranium-silicide

    Benjamin Beeler   Michael Baskes   David Andersson   Michael W.D. Cooper   Yongfeng Zhang  

    Abstract Uranium-silicide (U-Si) fuels are being pursued as a possible accident tolerant fuel (ATF). This uranium alloy fuel benefits from higher thermal conductivity and higher fissile density compared to uranium dioxide (UO 2 ). In order to perform engineering scale nuclear fuel performance simulations, the material properties of the fuel must be known. Currently, the experimental data available for U-Si fuels is rather limited. Thus, multiscale modeling efforts are underway to address this gap in knowledge. In this study, a semi-empirical modified Embedded-Atom Method (MEAM) potential is presented for the description of the U-Si system. The potential is fitted to the formation energy, defect energies and structural properties of U 3 Si 2 . The primary phase of interest (U 3 Si 2 ) is accurately described over a wide temperature range and displays good behavior under irradiation and with free surfaces. The potential can also describe a variety of U-Si phases across the composition spectrum.
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