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Experimental Evidence of Oxygen Thermo-Migration in PWR UO$_2$ Fuels during Power Ramps using In-situ Oxido-Reduction Indicators

Abstract : The present study describes the in-situ electrochemical modifications which affect irradiated PWR UO$_2$ fuels in the course of a power ramp, by means of in-situ oxido-reduction indicators such as chromium or neo-formed chemical phases. It is shown that irradiated fuels (of nominal stoichiometry close to 2.000) under temperature gradient such as that occurring during high power transients are submitted to strong oxido-reduction perturbations, owing to radial migration of oxygen from the hot center to the cold periphery of the pellet. The oxygen redistribution, similar to that encountered in Sodium Fast Reactors fuels, induces a massive reduction/precipitation of the fission products Mo, Ru, Tc and Cr (if present) in the high temperature pellet section and the formation of highly oxidized neo-formed grey phases of U$_4$O$_9$ type in its cold section, of lower temperature. The parameters governing the oxidation states of UO$_2$ fuels under power ramps are finally debated from a cross-analysis of our results and other published information. The potential chemical benefits brought by oxido-reductive additives in UO$_2$ fuel such as chromium oxide, in connection with their oxygen buffering properties, are discussed.
Keywords : Fuel Oxide Uranium
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https://hal-cea.archives-ouvertes.fr/cea-02389290
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Submitted on : Monday, December 2, 2019 - 2:32:08 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 28, 2020 - 11:28:16 AM
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C. Riglet Martial, J. Sercombe, J. Lamontagne, J. Noirot, I. Roure, et al.. Experimental Evidence of Oxygen Thermo-Migration in PWR UO$_2$ Fuels during Power Ramps using In-situ Oxido-Reduction Indicators. Journal of Nuclear Materials, Elsevier, 2016, 480, pp.32-39. ⟨10.1016/j.jnucmat.2016.07.056⟩. ⟨cea-02389290⟩

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