Two tristructural isotropic (TRISO)-coated nuclear fuel particles were examined by electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) as part of the Advanced Gas Reactor program. The compacts’ average irradiation temperatures ranged from approximately 1260 to 1290 °C. One particle was examined in the as-irradiated condition, while the other was subject to 1600 °C post-irradiation safety testing. This study was undertaken to test a newly-developed EPMA technique to determine fission product masses in TRISO particles on a layer-by-layer basis, and to compare fission product distributions between an as-irradiated and safety-tested particle. Fission product concentration profiles were collected along two radii in each particle, with measured concentrations used to compute the fission product mass in each TRISO particle layer. These measured masses were then compared to those predicted from ORIGEN modeling calculations. Data collected from these measurements show that for these two particles, masses determined via EPMA were within ± 20% of the calculated masses for the rare-earth elements, Mo, Zr, Cs, I, and Pd. Elements that tend to be less homogeneously distributed include Sr, Te, Eu, Ag, and possibly Ba. Measured Ag masses differed by more than 40% from the calculated mass. Lanthanides other than Eu remain primarily within the fuel kernel in the as-irradiated particle but in the safety-tested particle these element masses were divided approximately equally between the kernel and kernel periphery. In both particles, the majority of Sr and Eu accumulated in the carbon-rich kernel periphery, although in the safety-tested particle, Sr and Eu accumulated farther from the fuel kernel than occurred with irradiation alone. A greater mass fraction of mobile elements, such as Cs and I accumulated in the buffer and IPyC in the safety-tested particle as compared to the as-irradiated particle. When fully developed and tested, this mass balance approach to TRISO particle analysis has the potential to provide insight into fuel behavior.
Bibliographical noteAccepted Author Manuscript
- Fission product Distribution