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ArticleName Application of powder metallurgy for metal nuclear fuel manufacturing
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2015.10.15
ArticleAuthor Shornikov D. P., Baranov V. G., Nikitin S. N., Tarasov B. A.

Branch Scientific-Research Laboratory 709, National Research Nuclear University “MEPhI” (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute), Moscow, Russia:

D. P. Shornikov, Senior Researcher, e-mail:
V. G. Baranov, Professor of a Chair “Physical Problems of Materials Science”, Manager
S. N. Nikitin, Engineer
B. A. Tarasov, Engineer


Fast reactors are the basis of world nuclear energy. Metal alloys U – Mo, U – Zr, (U, Pu) – Zr are offered as an advanced fuel for fast reactors. These alloys possess such advantages as high thermal conductivity, high density, simple manufacturing and reprocessing. The disadvantages of metal fuel include low melting point, interaction with stainless steel cladding (eutectic formation), radiation growth and gas swelling. This paper describes the main results of study of porous metal fuel based on uranium-molybdenum and uranium-zirconium alloys. This type of fuel will be innovative and will be used for fast breeder reactor. The methods of production of uranium alloy powders are considered, and pressing and sintering modes are described. The metal fuel powder with a particle size of 0.2–0.7 mm was obtained with following milling in a high energy ball mill to a size of 50–100 m, and annealing. Pressing was carried out at a pressure of 30–65 MPa, in which case, the relative density of the compact is 60–75% of TD, while sintering was carried out in the temperature range of 600–900 °C. This paper notes that density and porosity of fuel pellets depends on pressing pressure and sintering temperature. The main results of X-ray diffraction and EMPA metal fuel pellets are shown. Thee is considered the possibility of application of high voltage electro discharge consolidation for pressing fuel pellets.

keywords Fast breeder reactor, metal nuclear fuel, gas swelling, porous metal nuclear fuel, pressing, sintering, high voltage electrodischarge consolidation

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