Journal article

Cermet sphere-pac concept for inert matrix fuel

In the inert matrix fuel concept, plutonium reprocessed from spent fuel is burned in an inert matrix, e.g. yttria-stabilized zirconia. Coming from wet reprocessing, the internal gelation can perform an easy micro-spheres production. Utilization of these particles in a sphere-pac realizes a direct fuel production. Besides being economical, this direct usage offers an almost dustless fabrication. One disadvantage of yttria-stabilized zirconia as matrix is its low thermal conductivity. A further reduction by the macroscopic structure of a sphere bed seems unacceptable. This can be eluded by the insertion of a highly conducting phase. Similar to the cermet concept with the embedment of ceramic fuel into metal, the infiltration of a fine metal fraction into a coarse ceramic fuel fraction is studied here. The initial thermal conductivity shows much higher calculated values and the sintering behaviour is also clearly enhanced compared to the pure ceramic bed.


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