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Preparation, sintering and leaching of optimized uranium thorium dioxides

Abstract : Mixed actinide dioxides are currently studied as potential fuels for several concepts associated to the fourth generation of nuclear reactors. These solids are generally obtained through dry chemistry processes from powder mixtures but could present some heterogeneity in the distribution of the cations in the solid. In this context, wet chemistry methods were set up for the preparation of U1−xThxO2 solid solutions as model compounds for advanced dioxide fuels. Two chemical routes of preparation, involving the precipitation of crystallized precursor, were investigated: on the one hand, a mixture of acidic solutions containing cations and oxalic acid was introduced in an open vessel, leading to a poorly-crystallized precipitate. On the other hand, the starting mixture was placed in an acid digestion bomb then set in an oven in order to reach hydrothermal conditions. By this way, small single-crystals were obtained then characterized by several techniques including XRD and SEM. The great differences in terms of morphology and crystallization state of the samples were correlated to an important variation of the specific surface area of the oxides prepared after heating, then the microstructure of the sintered pellets prepared at high temperature. Preliminary leaching tests were finally undertaken in dynamic conditions (i.e. with high renewal of the leachate) in order to evaluate the influence of the sample morphology on the chemical durability of the final cohesive materials.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - 4:44:15 PM
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N. Hingant, Nicolas Clavier, N. Dacheux, N. Barre, S. Hubert, et al.. Preparation, sintering and leaching of optimized uranium thorium dioxides. Journal of Nuclear Materials, Elsevier, 2009, 385, pp.400-406. ⟨10.1016/j.jnucmat.2008.12.011⟩. ⟨in2p3-00380026⟩



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