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Inert matrix fuels are U-free fuels to effectively burn, or transmute, surplus and exmilitary 239Pu and 235U, the minor actinides Am, Np and Cm, and possibly long-lived fission products such as 129I and 135Cs, thus reducing significantly the radiotoxicity of nuclear waste. The three alternatives of cercers, ie. a ceramic actinide compound in an inert, i.e.. no actinide producing matrix, such as AmO2 in MgO, of cermats, ie. a ceramic actinide compound in a metal matrix, such as AmO2 in Mo or Zr, and solid solutions as ceramics are discussed. The criteria for selecting inert matrices are summarized, the effects of radiation damage are reviewed and optimized, innovative concepts are described such as hybrid fuels of dispersion of an actinide host phase, eg. (Zr, Am)O2 in an inert matrix such as spinal MgAl2O4. With such optimized fuels, radiation damage effects can be minimized and the thermal behaviour can be optimized.

Additional information

Authors: MATZKE H, ITU Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: 26th annual meeting of the Argentinean Nuclear Society, Bariloche (AG), 9-12th November (1999)
Availability: Available free of charge from the Public Relations and Publications Unit, Ispra (IT)
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