Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry

, Volume 299, Issue 1, pp 103–109 | Cite as

Development of a new casting method to fabricate U–Zr alloy containing minor actinides

  • Jong Hwan Kim
  • Hoon Song
  • Hyung Tae Kim
  • Ki Hwan Kim
  • Chan Bock Lee
  • R. S. Fielding


Metal fuel slugs of U–Zr alloys for a sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) have conventionally been fabricated using an injection casting method. However, casting alloys containing volatile radioactive constituents, such as Am, are problematic in a conventional injection casting method. As an alternative fabrication method, low pressure gravity casting has been developed. Casting soundness, microstructural characteristics, alloying composition, density, and fuel losses were evaluated for the following as-cast fuel slugs: U–10 wt% Zr, U–10 wt% Zr–5 wt% RE, and U–10 wt% Zr–5 wt% RE–5 wt% Mn. The U and Zr contents were uniform throughout the matrix, and impurities such as oxyen, carbon, and nitrogen satisfied the specification of total impurities less than 2,000 ppm. The appearance of the fuel slugs was generally sound, and the internal integrity was shown to be satisfactory based on gamma-ray radiography. In a volatile surrogate casting test, the U–Zr–RE–Mn fuel slug showed that nearly all of the manganese was retained when casting was done under an inert atmosphere.


Metallic fuel slug Sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) Gravity casting Evaporation Fuel loss 


  1. 1.
    A Technology Roadmap for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems, Issued by the US DOE Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee and the Generation IV International Forum (2002) Available through the US Department of EnergyGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    US Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology (2003) The US Generation IV Implementation StrategyGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    US Department of Energy, Report to Congress on the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (2003)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    US Department of Energy, Press Release, Department of Energy Announces New Nuclear Initiative (2006)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hofman GL, Walters LC (1994) Mater Sci Technol 10A:3Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Riyas A, Mohanakrishnan P (2008) Energy 35:87Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kittel JH, Frost BRT, Mustelier JP, Bagley KQ, Crittenden GC, Van Dievoet J (1993) J Nucl Mater 204:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Burkes DE, Fielding RS, Porter DL, Crawford DC, Meyer MK (2009) J Nucl Mater 389:458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Crawford DC, Porter DL, Hayes SL (2007) J Nucl Mater 371:202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Nevitt MV (1989) J Nucl Mater 165:1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lahm CE, Koenig JF, Pahl RG, Porter DL, Crawford DC (1993) J Nucl Mater 204:119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Walters LC (1999) J Nucl Mater 270:39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Walters LC (1999) J Nucl Mater 270:39–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Walter CM, Golden GH, Olson NJ (1975) U–Pu–Zr metal alloy: a potential fuel for LMFBRS, ANL-76-28, Argonne National LaboratoryGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pahl RG, Porter DL, Lahm CE, Hofman GL (1990) Metall Mater Trans A 21:1863CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Stevenson CE (1987) The EBR-II fuel cycle story. American Nuclear Society, La Grange Park, ILGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Burkes DE, Fielding RS, Porter DL, Crawford DC, Meyer MK (2009) J Nucl Mater 389:458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Burkes DE, Fielding RS, Porter DL (2009) J Nucl Mater 392:158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Argonne National Laboratory, Unpublished documentGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ogata T, Tsukada T (2007) Engineering-scale development of injection casting technology for metal fuel cycle. In: Global 2007, 9–13 Sept, Boise, IDGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Takahashi Y, Yamawaki M, Yamamoto K (1988) J Nucl Mater 154:141–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Report No. BMI-1030 (1955). In: Rough FA (ed) Metallurgy and ceramics (M-3679), 16th edn. Battelle Memorial Institute Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Report No. BMI-1350 (1959). In: Bauer AA (ed) Metallurgy and ceramics (TID-4500), 15th edn. Battelle Memorial Institute Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Trybus CL, Sanecki JE, Henslee SP (1993) J Nucl Mater 204:50–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jong Hwan Kim
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hoon Song
    • 2
  • Hyung Tae Kim
    • 2
  • Ki Hwan Kim
    • 2
  • Chan Bock Lee
    • 2
  • R. S. Fielding
    • 3
  1. 1.Quantum Energy Chemical EngineeringUniversity of Science and TechnologyYuseongRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Next Generation Fuel DivisionKorea Atomic Energy Research InstituteDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Nuclear Fuel and Materials DivisionIdaho National LaboratoryIdaho FallsUSA

Personalised recommendations