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Inert matrix fuels for transmutation of minor actinides or for burning excess Pu are subjected to four different damage sources: I) thermal or fast neutrons, 2) alpha-decay, 3) fission fragment impact. In addition, there is 4) intense beta and gamma radiation. The response of the matrices differs significantly for these damage sources. As an example, spinal MgAl(2)O(4) is very stable against neutron irradiation up to high fluences whereas it can be rather easily turned into an amorphous state with properties different from those of the crystalline state through the impact of fission products. The physics of energy loss of energetic primary ions and of secondary ions in the collision cascades produced by the primary ions and by neutrons is discussed. There is a large data base on alpha-decay damage in many ceramics. In addition, a vast experience exists in simulating the recoil atoms of a alpha-decay by ion implantation in accelerators. Recently irradiation's with fission products of fission energy, and also of still higher energies, in large accelerators have yielded extensive information on structural stability, swelling etc, of many possible inert matrix materials. These results are summarized and discussed, and confronted with the available but much smaller experience on actual reactor irradiation's. The main gaps in the knowledge existing today are summed up and suggestions for the future are made.

Additional information

Authors: MATZKE H, ITU-Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented; Workshop on Advance Reactors with Innovative Fuels, ARWIF 98, 21-23 October, 1998
Availability: Available from Public Relations and Publications Unit, JRC-Ispra (IT)
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