Post-irradiation examination of coated particle fuel from the AGR-1 experiment is in progress at Idaho National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In this paper a brief summary of results from characterization of microstructures in the coating layers of selected irradiated fuel particles with burnup of 11.3% and 19.3% FIMA will be given. The main objectives of the characterization were to study irradiation effects, fuel kernel porosity, layer debonding, layer degradation or corrosion, fission-product precipitation, grain sizes, and transport of fission products from the kernels across the TRISO layers. Characterization techniques such as scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, and wavelength dispersive spectroscopy were used. A new approach to microscopic quantification of fission-product precipitates is also briefly demonstrated. Microstructural characterization focused on fission-product precipitates in the SiC-IPyC interface, the SiC layer and the fuel-buffer interlayer. The results provide significant new insights into mechanisms of fission-product transport. Although Pd-rich precipitates were identified at the SiC-IPyC interlayer, no significant SiC-layer thinning was observed for the particles investigated. Characterization of these precipitates highlighted the difficulty of measuring low concentrations of Ag in precipitates with significantly higher concentrations of Pd and U. Different approaches to resolving this problem are discussed. An initial hypothesis is provided to explain fission-product precipitate compositions and locations. No SiC phase transformations were observed and no debonding of the SiC-IPyC interlayer as a result of irradiation was observed for the samples investigated. Lessons learned from the post-irradiation examination are described and future actions are recommended.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- General Materials Science
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Mechanical Engineering