Transmission electron microscopy observation on irradiation-induced microstructural evolution in high burn-up UO(2) disk fuel
In order to identify the conditions of the rim structure formation as a function of burn-up and temperature, and to clarify the formation mechanism of this restructuring, UO(2) fuel disks were irradiated at four thermal conditions, between 400 and 1300 °C, and at four different burn-ups, between 36 and 96 MWd/kgU, without external mechanical constraint. The microstructural evolutions as a function of the irradiation parameters are observed by high resolution scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The SEM observations reveal the transition from original to sub-divided grains of rim structure and make clear that the burn-up threshold is between 55 and 82 MWd/kgU. The temperature threshold of this restructuring could be 1100±100 °C. Moreover, polyhedral sub-divided-grains with size ranging between 0.5 and 2 µm, not only rounded grains in the size range 150-350 nm, are clearly observed. These configurations are explained by assuming that the grain sub-divisions occurred homogeneously within the original polyhedral grains, while the existence of rounded grains might be due to free surface effects. TEM observations of re-structured samples show that most of sub-grain boundaries are low angle and are heavily decorated by fission gas bubbles in the range 3.5-8 nm. In the non-restructured samples, dislocations and small precipitates are present, and many of the bubbles form "strings" along dislocation lines. In specimens irradiated at high temperature, many dislocations seem to be anchored by fission product precipitates.
Bibliographic Reference: An article published in: Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B, Volume 191, Issues 1-4, May 2002, Pp. 622-628
Availability: This article can be accessed online by subscribers, and can be ordered online by non-subscribers, at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0168-583X(02)00622-5
Record Number: 200215708 / Last updated on: 2003-01-09
Original language: en
Available languages: en