Formation of (Cr,Al)UO4 from doped UO2 and its influence on partition of soluble fission products

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CrUO4 and (Cr, Al)UO4 have been fabricated by a sol–gel method, studied using diffraction techniques and modelled using empirical pair potentials. Cr2O3 was predicted to preferentially form CrUO4 over entering solution into hyper-stoichiometric UO2+x by atomic scale simulation. Further, it was predicted that the formation of CrUO4 can proceed by removing excess oxygen from the UO2 lattice. Attempts to synthesise AlUO4 failed, instead forming U3O8 and Al2O3. X-ray diffraction confirmed the structure of CrUO4 and identifies the existence of a (Cr, Al)UO4 phase for the first time (with a maximum Al to Cr mole ratio of 1:3). Simulation was subsequently used to predict the partition energies for the removal of fission products or fuel additives from hyper-stoichiometric UO2+x and their incorporation into the secondary phase. The partition energies are consistent only with smaller cations (e.g. Zr4+, Mo4+ and Fe3+) residing in CrUO4, while all divalent cations are predicted to remain in UO2+x. Additions of Al had little effect on partition behaviour. The reduction of UO2+x due to the formation of CrUO4 has important implications for the solution limits of other fission products as many species are less soluble in UO2 than UO2+x. © 2013, Elsevier B.V.
X-ray diffraction, Fission products, Solubility, Nuclear fuels, Cations, Precipitation
Cooper, M. W. D., Gregg, D. J., Zhang, Y., Thorogood, G. J., Lumpkin, G. R., Grimes, R. W., & Middleburgh, S. C. (2013). Formation of (Cr,Al)UO4 from doped UO2 and its influence on partition of soluble fission products. Journal of Nuclear Materials, 443(1-3), 236-241. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2013.07.038