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The recycling and fission of the highly toxic minor actinides neptunium and americium is only possible in a liquid metal cooled fast breeder reactor. The present work is part of a research program dealing with the fuel-coolant interaction. Fuel pellets with equal parts of americium and uranium and varying oxygen-metal ratio were investigated. A behaviour comparable to that of uranium-plutonium mixed oxides was suggested. The reaction of sodium with { U(0.5)Am(0.5) }O(2-x) results in a complete disintegration of the sintered pellet whereas { U, Pu }O(2-x) pellets show a small increase in volume. A first explanation of the strong reaction of uranium-americium mixed oxides compared to { U, Pu }O(2-x) or { U,Np }O(2-x) could be provided by the less negative oxygen potential of the former. Ternary and polynary oxides which are possible products of the fuel-coolant reaction were prepared and characterised by X-ray diffraction. Their oxygen potentials were measured using a solid state e.m.f. cell. Following these measurements it was concluded that neither Na(2)AmO(3) nor Na(3)AmO(4) can coexist with sodium metal. Only Na(2)O seems to be likely as a product of the fuel-coolant interaction. It could be determined in reacted samples by X-ray diffraction.

Additional information

Authors: MAYER K, JRC Karlsruhe Estab. (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 11526 DE (1988)
Availability: (2)
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