Chemical characterisation of degraded nuclear fuel analogues simulating the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident

Hao Ding, Clémence Gausse, Malin C.Dixon Wilkins, Lucy M. Mottram, Martin C. Stennett, Daniel Grolimund, Ryan Tappero, Sarah Nicholas, Shikuan Sun, Tomooki Shiba, C. Paraskevoulakos, Neil C. Hyatt*, Claire L. Corkhill*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Fukushima Daiichi accident generated degraded nuclear fuel material, mixed with other reactor components, known as molten core-concrete interaction (MCCI) material. Simulant MCCI material was synthesised, excluding highly radioactive fission products, containing depleted U, and incorporating Ce as a surrogate for Pu. Multi-modal µ-focus X-ray analysis revealed the presence of the expected suite of U-Zr-O containing minerals, in addition to crystalline silicate phases CaSiO3, SiO2-cristobalite and Ce-bearing percleveite, (Ce,Nd)2Si2O7. The formation of perclevite resulted from reaction between the U-Zr-O-depleted Ce-Nd-O melt and the silicate (SiO2) melt. It was determined that the majority of U was present as U4+, whereas Ce was observed to be present as Ce3+, consistent with the highly reducing synthesis conditions. A range of Fe-containing phases characterised by different average oxidation states were identified, and it is hypothesised that their formation induced heterogeneity in the local oxygen potential, influencing the oxidation state of Ce.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Journalnpj Materials Degradation
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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