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The MARINE experiment: Irradiation of sphere-pac fuel and pellets of UO$_{2−x}$ for americium breading blanket concept

Abstract : Americium is a strong contributor to the long term radiotoxicity of high activity nuclear waste. Transmutation by irradiation in nuclear reactors of long-lived nuclides like $^{241}$Am is therefore an option for the reduction of radiotoxicity and heat production of waste packages to be stored in a repository. The MARINE irradiation experiment is the latest of a series of European experiments on americium transmutation (e.g. EFTTRA-T4, EFTTRA-T4bis, HELIOS, MARIOS, SPHERE) performed in the High Flux Reactor (HFR). The MARINE experiment is developed and carried out in the framework of the collaborative research project PELGRIMM of the EURATOM 7th Framework Programme (FP7). During the past years of experimental works in the field of transmutation and tests of innovative nuclear fuels, the release or trapping of helium as well as swelling have been shown to be the key issues for the design of such kind of fuel both as drivers and even more for Am-bearing blanket targets (due to the higher Am contents). The main objective of the MARINE experiment is to study the in-pile behaviour of uranium oxide fuel containing 13% of americium and to compare the behaviour of sphere-pac versus pellet fuel, in particular the role of microstructure and temperature on fission gas release and He on fuel swelling. The MARINE experiment will be irradiated in 2016 in the HFR in Petten (The Netherlands) and is expected to be completed in spring 2017. This paper discusses the rationale and objective of the MARINE experiment and provides a general description of its design for which some innovative features have been adopted.
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E. d'Agata, P.R. Hania, D. Freis, J. Somers, S. Bejaoui, et al.. The MARINE experiment: Irradiation of sphere-pac fuel and pellets of UO$_{2−x}$ for americium breading blanket concept. Nuclear Engineering and Design, Elsevier, 2017, 311, pp.131-141. ⟨10.1016/j.nucengdes.2016.11.023⟩. ⟨cea-02428713⟩

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