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Furthermore, composite reaction with water under PWR conditions has been studied. 1. INTRODUCTION In order to achieve irradiation cycles exceeding 12 months in French PWRs, it is planned to use burnable poisons within the fuel, such as for example gadolinium oxide. m diameter macrospheres, homogeneously dispersed within the urania matrix. This paper presents the work carried out on a composite fuel containing 12 wt% of gadolinia macrospheres, the objective being to study the properties such as its sinterability, its thermal conductivity and its reaction with water under PWR conditions, compared both to pure UO2 and gadolinia-doped UO2 containing the same proportion of gadolinium .

Er2O3 forms a solid solution with UO2 on condition that the atom diffusion in the bulk is sufficiently fast. This is not generally the case during conventional sintering at 1700°C under dry or wet hydrogen atmosphere, which leads to a very fine-grained microstructure (< 5 pro), as the movement of grain boundaries is blocked by Er2O3 precipitates [5]. Consequently, special sintering conditions are used to obtain a standard or large grain size with solubility of the additive in the UO2. 29 y spectrometry after irradiation Amount of fission products created Calculation to readjust burn-up and power Preparation of the rod gas Y spectrometry count Drilling of the cladding Opening of the rod Recovery of each individual fuel pellet Y spectrometry Cs gas Y spectrometry 85 Kr count Thermal Treatment Y spectrometry Cs d Optical microscopy )py-t-SEM(Opti Optical microscopy + SEM before T,••T.

Grain size distributions are presented on seeded material sintered in production furnaces for one and two conventional cycles. These show that a fully recrystallised microstructure, comprising a large grain size, can be obtained after one process cycle. Where the seed size is larger and the quantity of nuclei is correspondingly reduced, the time to achieve full recrystallisation is longer, necessitating a second pass through the sintering furnace. However the grain size that could potentially be achieved in these circumstances is larger.

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Adv in Fuel-Pellet Tech for Imprvd Perf at High Burnup (IAEA TECDOC-1036)


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