• high-energy X-ray diffraction;
  • powder diffraction;
  • Rietveld refinement;
  • low-enriched nuclear fuels;
  • nanotomography

This article describes a single-shot methodology to derive an average coating thickness in multi-particle core–shell systems exhibiting high X-ray absorption. Powder composed of U–Mo alloy particles surrounded by a micrometre-thick UO2 protective layer has been used as a test sample. Combining high-energy X-ray diffraction and laser granulometry, the average shell thickness could be accurately characterized. These results have been validated by additional measurements on single particles by two techniques: X-ray nanotomography and high-energy X-ray diffraction. The presented single-shot approach gives rise to many potential applications on core–shell systems and in particular on as-fabricated heterogeneous nuclear fuels.