New generation of nuclear fuels : Stability of different stearates under high doses gamma irradiation in the manufacturing process Article - 2017

D. Lebeau, S. Esnouf, J. Gracia, F. Audubert, M. Ferry

D. Lebeau, S. Esnouf, J. Gracia, F. Audubert, M. Ferry, « New generation of nuclear fuels : Stability of different stearates under high doses gamma irradiation in the manufacturing process  », Journal of Nuclear Materials, 2017. ISSN 0022-3115

Abstract

In the future reactors, the pellets radioactivity will increase due to the modification of the plutonium concentration. The stability of the organic additive used as lubricating/deagglomerating agent has thus to be evaluated. Up to now, zinc stearate is employed, but new additives are tested in this study and compared to zinc stearate. In a first part of this paper, the order of magnitude of the dose deposited in the stearates has been estimated. Afterward, three different stearates have been irradiated, using gamma-rays at doses as high as 2000 kGy. Two atmospheres of irradiation were tested, i.e. inert atmosphere and air. Samples were characterized using the following analytical tools : mass spectrometry, thermogravimetry and infrared spectroscopy. The objective is the evaluation of the ageing of these materials. In the nuclear fuel pellets manufacturing context, the candidate which could replace zinc stearate, if this one is too degraded to fulfill its role of lubricant in the pellets of the future manufacturing, has been determined.

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