An important aspect of the Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA) program is the development of a casting process by which volatile actinide element (i.e., americium) can be incorporated into metallic alloy fuel pins. The traditional metal fuel casting process uses an inductively heated crucible. The process involves evacuation of the furnace. The evacuation of the furnace also evacuates quartz rods used as fuel pin molds. Once evacuated the open ends of the molds are lowered into the melt; the casting furnace is then rapidly pressurized, forcing the molten metal up into the evacuated molds where solidification occurs.
This process works well for the fabrication of metal fuel pins traditionally composed of alloys of uranium and plutonium, but does not work well when highly volatile actinides are included in the melt. Candidate design concepts are being evaluated for their potential to successfully cast alloys containing volatile actinides. The selection of design concepts has been conducted in close cooperation with ANL staff. The research centers on the development of advanced numerical models to assess conditions that significantly impact the transport of volatile actinides during the melt casting process.
Actinide alloys; Actinide elements; Americium; Metal castings; Metallurgical furnaces; Nuclear fuel rods
Nuclear | Nuclear Engineering
Design and Analysis for Melt Casting Metallic Fuel Pins Incorporating Volatile Actinides: Quarterly Progress Report 8/16/01- 11/15/01.
Available at: http://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/hrc_trp_fuels/5