Journal of Nuclear Materials ( IF 2.485 ) Pub Date : 2020-01-20 , DOI: 10.1016/j.jnucmat.2020.152003 Riley J. Parrish; Fabiola Cappia; Assel Aitkaliyeva
This work presents a comparison between the microstructural evolution of three annular fast-reactor mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel pellets irradiated to varying burnups at the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF). Fuel pellets irradiated to 3.4%, 13.7%, and 21.3% fissions per initial metal atom (FIMA) were examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) techniques. The cross-section of the low burnup pellet displayed minor structural changes, but the central annulus of the pellets at 13.7% and 21.3% FIMA shrank from their starting size. The high burnup fuel pellet featured streaking and porosity migration associated with columnar grain growth. The radial fission product distribution in each of the pellets had a higher number density of metallic particles >5 μm in diameter near the fuel centerline. Solid fission products in the fuel-cladding gap were observed in the low and intermediate burnup pellets. The low burnup sample showed minor accumulation of Ba in the gap, while the volatile Cs was primarily observed at the pellet surface. The intermediate burnup pellet displayed a porous mixture of fission products, consistent with the joint-oxide gain (JOG) that has been previously observed in fast-reactor MOX fuel pellets.