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Journal of Nuclear Materials 362 (2007) 416-425
Thermal diffusion of chlorine in uranium dioxide studied by secondary ion mass spectrometry and X-ray adsorption spectroscopy
Y. Pipon1, N. Toulhoat1, N. Moncoffre1, Louis Raimbault2, A.M. Scheidegger, F. Farges3, G. Carlot4

In a nuclear reactor, 35Cl present as an impurity in the nuclear fuel is activated by thermal neutron capture. During interim storage or geological disposal of the nuclear fuel, 36Cl may be released from the fuel to the geo/biosphere and contribute significantly to the ‘instant release fraction'. In order to elucidate the diffusion mechanisms, both irradiation and thermal effects must be assessed. This paper deals with the thermal diffusion of chlorine in depleted UO2. For this purpose, sintered UO2 pellets were implanted with 37Cl at an ion fluence of 1013 cm−2 and successively annealed in the 1175–1475 K temperature range. The implanted chlorine is used to simulate the behaviour of the displaced one due to recoil and to interactions with the fission fragments during reactor operation. The behaviour of the pristine and the implanted chlorine was investigated during thermal annealing. SIMS and μ-XAS (at the Cl–K edge) analyses show that: (1) the thermal migration of implanted chlorine becomes significant at 1275 K; this temperature and the calculated activation energy of 4.3 eV points out the great ability of chlorine to migrate in UO2 at relatively low temperatures, (2) the behaviour of the implanted chlorine which aggregates into ‘hot spots' during annealing before its effusion is clearly different from that of the pristine one which remains homogenously distributed after annealing, (3) the ‘hot spot' and the pristine chlorine seem to be in different structural environments. Both types of chlorine are assumed to have a valence state of −I, (4) the comparison between an U2O2Cl5 reference compound and the pristine chlorine environment shows a contribution of the U2O2Cl5 to the pristine chlorine.
1 :  IPNL - Institut de Physique Nucléaire de Lyon
2 :  GEOSCIENCES - Centre de Géosciences
3 :  Laboratoire des Géomatériaux
4 :  LLCC - Laboratoire des Lois de Comportement du Combustible