Fission-product behaviour in irradiated TRISO-coated particles: Results of the HFR-Eu1bis experiment and their interpretation
Journal of Nuclear Materials / Volume 415, Issue 1, 1 Août 2011, Pages 104-116
It is important to understand fission-product (FP) and kernel micro-structure evolution in TRISO-coated fuel particles. FP behaviour, while central to severe-accident evaluation, impacts: evolution of the kernel oxygen potential governing in turn carbon oxidation (amoeba effect and pressurization); particle pressurization through fission-gas release from the kernel; and coating mechanical resistance via reaction with some FPs (Pd, Cs, Sr). The HFR-Eu1bis experiment irradiated five HTR fuel pebbles containing TRISO-coated UO2 particles and went beyond current HTR specifications (e.g., central temperature of 1523 K). This study presents ceramographic and EPMA examinations of irradiated urania kernels and coatings. Significant evolutions of the kernel (grain structure, porosity, metallic-inclusion size, intergranular bubbles) as a function of temperature are shown. Results concerning FP migration are presented, e.g., significant xenon, caesium and palladium release from the kernel, molybdenum and ruthenium mainly present in metallic precipitates. The observed FP and micro-structural evolutions are interpreted and explanations proposed. The effect of high flux rate and high temperature on fission-gas behaviour, grain-size evolution and kernel swelling is discussed. Furthermore, Cs, Mo and Zr behaviour is interpreted in connection with oxygen-potential. This paper shows that combining state-of-the-art post-irradiation examination and state-of-the-art modelling fundamentally improves understanding of HTR fuel behaviour.