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Study of suspensions made of liquefied gas and oxide powders application to a cryo-milling process for nuclear fuel

Abstract : In the conventional ceramic industry, the milling / micronization powder reference route corresponds to the liquid route passing through the preparation of a suspension that limits the dispersion of fine particles and allows a pseudo-continuous operation. The adaptation of this type of liquid process to the case of suspensions of uranium and plutonium oxide powders could be an interesting alternative to the classical ball-milling operation. The use of liquid nitrogen (cryogenic route), without criticality, radiolysis phenomena and liquid effluent/waste constraints allows to consider a liquid process. Suspensions of UO2 / PuO2 and UO2 / CeO2 powders in liquid nitrogen (N2L) via various mixing parameters and powder/liquid ratios are studied. The influence of such system parameters on the suspensions rheology and on the characteristics of the powders obtained after N2L evaporation is evaluated in comparison with dry milling or alcoholic (ethanol) milling results. Furthermore, the aptitude of these powders to pellets fabrication is studied through their shaping or their sintering after compaction. In addition, the degrees of homogeneity of the obtained mixtures are compared. Results of this work on a small-scale process of cryogenic dis-agglomeration and homogenization of powder mixture are encouraging. Indeed, in function of the tested parameters, pellet characterizations show various cationic distribution homogeneities. In optimized conditions, a cationic homogeneity at a micronic scale is obtained without pellet apparent defects. This justifies a more basic study of the hydraulic regimes and in general of the behavior of UO2/PuO2 suspensions in N2L as a function of several parameters such as solid content or powder granulometry. It could be then considered future applications on larger scales.
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https://hal-cea.archives-ouvertes.fr/cea-02613559
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 11:18:44 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 21, 2020 - 1:16:13 AM

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  • HAL Id : cea-02613559, version 1

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S. Vaudez, A.C. Robisson, M. Brothier. Study of suspensions made of liquefied gas and oxide powders application to a cryo-milling process for nuclear fuel. PACRIM13, Oct 2019, Okinawa, Japan. ⟨cea-02613559⟩

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