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Chemical forms of uranium evaluated by thermodynamic calculation associated with distribution of core materials in the damaged reactor pressure vessel

Ikeuchi, Hirotomo ; Yano, Kimihiko ; Washiya, Tadahiro

To suggest efficient process of the fuel debris treatment after the retrieval from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (1F), thorough investigation is indispensable on potential source of U in the fuel debris. Estimation on the fuel debris accumulated in the reactor pressure vessel is specifically important due to its limited accessibility. The present study aims to estimate the chemical forms of U in the in-vessel fuel debris, especially in the minor phases such as metallic phases, by performing the thermodynamic calculation considering the material relocation and changing environment during the accident progression in the 1F Unit 2. Input conditions for the thermodynamic calculation such as composition, temperature, and oxygen amount were assumed mainly based on the results of severe accident analysis. The chemical form of U varied depending on the local amount of Fe and O. In regions of low steel content, the U-containing metallic phase was dominated by $$alpha$$-(Zr,U)(O), while regions of high steel content were dominated by Fe$$_{2}$$(Zr,U) (Laves phase). A few percent of U was transferred to the metallic phases under reducing conditions, raising challenging issues on the chemical removal of nuclear material from fuel debris.

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Category:Nuclear Science & Technology

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