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Fabrication of nitride fuels for transmutation of minor actinides

マイナーアクチノイド核変換用窒化物燃料の調製

湊 和生; 赤堀 光雄; 高野 公秀 ; 荒井 康夫; 中島 邦久; 伊藤 昭憲; 小川 徹

Minato, Kazuo; Akabori, Mitsuo; Takano, Masahide; Arai, Yasuo; Nakajima, Kunihisa; Ito, Akinori; Ogawa, Toru

原研では、地層処分の負担軽減,環境負荷低減を目的に、長寿命核種であるマイナーアクチノイドのNp,Am,Cmを窒化物燃料として加速器駆動核変換炉により短寿命核種に核変換する概念を提案している。これまでに、NpN,(Np,Pu)N,AmN,(Am,Y)N,(Am,Zr)N,(Cm,Pu)Nなどの窒化物を炭素熱還元法により酸化物から調製することに成功している。調製した窒化物については、X線回折法による相の同定及び格子定数測定,不純物酸素及び炭素の分析などを実施している。また、ウランを含まない(Pu,Zr)N及びPuN+TiNの燃料ペレットを製造し、材料試験炉JMTRにおいて照射試験を開始した。

In the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, the concept of the transmutation of minor actinides (MA: Np, Am and Cm) with accelerator-driven systems is being studied. The MA nitride fuel has been chosen as a candidate because of the possible mutual solubility among the actinide mononitrides and excellent thermal properties besides supporting hard neutron spectrum. MA nitrides of AmN, (Am,Y)N, (Am,Zr)N and (Cm0.4Pu0.6)N were prepared from the oxides by the carbothermic reduction method. The prepared MA nitrides were examined by X-ray diffraction and the contents of impurities of oxygen and carbon were measured. The fabrication conditions for MA nitrides were improved so as to reduce the impurity contents. For an irradiation test of U-free nitride fuels, pellets of (Pu,Zr)N and PuN+TiN were prepared and a He-bonded fuel pin was fabricated. The irradiation test started in May 2002 and will go on for two years in the Japan Materials Testing Reactor.

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