In order to elucidate fuel wash-out behavior after the degraded secondary failure of LWR fuel rods, corrosion experiments in high temperature and high pressure water of 340°C and 15 MPa were conducted for unirradiated oxide fuels, two each of undoped UO2 with two different grain sizes, 5 wt% Gd2O3- and 10 wt% Gd2O3-doped UO2. In degassed water of dissolved oxygen concentration (DO) equal to 10 ppb, no corrosion or oxidation was found, but the corrosion became noticeable above DO = 3 ppm. Pellet oxidation proceeded with U4O9 formation along the grain boundaries and subsequent U4O9 growth into enveloped UO2 grains. Consequently, the grain boundary penetration rate in the oxygenated water followed a diffusion-controlled parabolic law. Mismatch in the O/U ratio between the grain boundaries and interiors led to weakened boundaries, which is the cause of fuel wash-out in heavily degraded fuel rods. Both increases of grain size and Gd2O3 content were found to provide improved corrosion resistance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Materials Science(all)
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering