Novel Production Route of Yttria-Stabilized Zirconia Fuel Kernels and Pellets for Nuclear Fuel Applications


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A process for the production of nuclear fuels in particle or pellet form has been developed on the basis of an internal gelation process. The development has been made for yttria-stabilized zirconia, which is foreseen as a neutronic inert matrix to support minor actinides for their transmutation in fast neutron reactors or other reactor systems. Process conditions have been optimized for the production of kernels for coated particle and spherepac fuel configurations. Optimization of the particle porosity enabling the introduction of minor actinides into the material via an infiltration route has been achieved and demonstrated.