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Journal Articles

Decommissioning activities at Ningyo-toge Environmental Engineering Center

Kihara, Yoshiyuki

RANDEC Nyusu, (112), 1 Pages, 2019/07

In December 2016, we announced our new concept of the "Uranium and Environmental Research Platform". To move forward with this concept, we believe it is important to explain the R&D plan and its outcomes in an open venue and to ensure the reliability and transparency of the project through two-way communication with local communities. We established discussion meetings to receive opinions and recommendations from local citizens and experts. As a result of the meetings from June 2017 to March 2019, opinions and recommendations were shown that it is appropriate to conduct R&D shown in the concept of "Uranium and Environmental Research Platform" in order to reduce risks and environmental conservation efforts. In addition, we recognized that it is important to discuss through two-way communication with local communities again. We will continue activities to consider problems for Back-end projects, while utilizing experiences accumulated for more than 60 years through Front-end projects.

Journal Articles

Fabrication and short-term irradiation behaviour of Am-bearing MOX fuels

Kihara, Yoshiyuki; Tanaka, Kosuke; Koyama, Shinichi; Yoshimochi, Hiroshi; Seki, Takayuki; Katsuyama, Kozo

NEA/NSC/R(2017)3, p.341 - 350, 2017/11

In order to investigate the effect of the addition of americium to MOX fuels on the irradiation behaviour, the "Am-1" program is being conducted at the JAEA. The Am-1 program consists of two short-term irradiation tests of 10-min and 24-h irradiation periods, and a steady-state irradiation test. The short-term irradiation tests and their post irradiation examinations (PIEs) have been successfully completed. To date, the data for PIE of the Am-MOX fuels focused on the microstructural evolution and redistribution behaviour of Am at the initial stage of irradiation have been obtained and reported. In this paper, the results obtained from the Am-1 program are reviewed and detailed descriptions of the fabrication and inspection techniques for the Am-MOX fuels prepared for the program are provided. PIE data for the Am-MOX fuels at the initial stage of irradiation have been accumulated. In this paper, unpublished PIE data for the Am-MOX fuels are also presented.

Journal Articles

Development of advanced PIE technique for fuel debris using X-Ray computer tomography

Katsuyama, Kozo; Ishimi, Akihiro; Tanaka, Kosuke; Kihara, Yoshiyuki

Proceedings of 53rd Annual Meeting of Hot Laboratories and Remote Handling Working Group (HOTLAB 2016) (Internet), 5 Pages, 2016/11

Following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, a feasibility study on the application of X-ray CT technique for observation of the inner condition of the fuel debris was initiated. First, a preliminary test was performed using a dummy specimen of irradiated fuel pellets, which was heated to 2373 K. As a result, we obtained high resolution X-ray CT images in which the small pieces of fuel pellets could be clearly distinguished from one another. Analyzing these X-ray CT images enables us to know the density distribution of the fuel debris.

Journal Articles

Fuel performance of hollow pellets for fast breeder reactors

Ishimi, Akihiro; Katsuyama, Kozo; Kihara, Yoshiyuki; *

Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology, 53(7), p.951 - 956, 2016/07

 Times Cited Count:4 Percentile:39.97(Nuclear Science & Technology)

Three fuel rods containing hollow MOX pellets of uranium and plutonium oxides were fabricated and irradiated at a high linear heat rate to burn-up of nearly 30,000 MWd/t in the experimental fast reactor, JOYO MK-II. After irradiation, one of the fuel rods pellets was examined by X-ray CT and conventional nondestructive and destructive methods. Swelling rate was evaluated by both dimensional change and radial density distribution. There were no differences between both types of results and it was concluded that swelling rate can be examined in detail by the X-ray CT technique by dismantling the assembly. In addition, the swelling rate of hollow pellets was nearly the same as values reported for the fuel rods containing solid pellets. LHR was higher in the examined fuel rod containing hollow pellets than in the conventional fuel rod containing solid pellets, but fission gas release rates for both fuel rods were nearly the same. Since it is possible to decrease the maximum temperature in the radial center of the hollow fuel pellets, they can be effectively utilized in reactor operation at higher LHR.

Journal Articles

Development of PRW welding technology for 9Cr-ODS cladding tube

Seki, Masayuki; Kihara, Yoshiyuki; Kaito, Takeji; Tsukada, Tatsuya*; Motoki, Kazuhiko*; Hirako, Kazuhito*

Proceedings of International Conference on Toward and Over the Fukushima Daiichi Accident (GLOBAL 2011) (CD-ROM), 5 Pages, 2011/12

Oxide Dispersion Strengthened (ODS) steel has been developed as an advanced fuel cladding tube for sodium cooled fast reactors in Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) to attain the target burn up of 150 GWd/t in the bundle average because of its excellent swelling resistance and high mechanical strength in high temperature. If conventional TIG welding is applied to the ODS welding, it is difficult to obtain necessary mechanical strength at the weld zone because of the formation of porosity. It is formed by the argon bubbles which initially dissolve in the matrix and grow up under the high temperature during welding. Therefore JAEA has been conducted the development of pressurized resistance welding (PRW) technology for ODS cladding tube, which is one of the solid state welding methods. This paper describes in the development of PRW technology, an ultrasonic test method for detecting weld defects, the result of machine strength measurement examination in weld part and the result of fuel pin irradiation examination using nuclear reactor.

Journal Articles

Development of pressing machine with a die wall lubrication system for the simplified MOX pellet fabrication method in the FaCT project

Sudo, Katsuo; Takano, Tatsuo; Takeuchi, Kentaro; Kihara, Yoshiyuki; Kato, Masato

Proceedings of International Conference on Toward and Over the Fukushima Daiichi Accident (GLOBAL 2011) (CD-ROM), 5 Pages, 2011/12

Japan Atomic Energy Agency has been contracted to advance the Fast Reactor Cycle Technology Development project. As one part of the project, a simplified MOX pellet fabrication method has been developed for fast reactor fuels. In previous reports, feasibility of a simplified MOX pellet fabrication method was confirmed through hot and cold laboratory-scale experiments. The die wall lubrication pressing technology was one of the important technologies included in the development of the simplified MOX pellet fabrication method. In the work described here, a pressing machine with a die wall lubrication system was developed, and MOX pellet fabrication experiments were carried out on the kilogram MOX scale.

Journal Articles

Development of oxygen-to-metal ratio of MOX pellet adjustment technology for the simplified MOX pellet fabrication method in the FaCT project

Takano, Tatsuo; Sudo, Katsuo; Takeuchi, Kentaro; Kihara, Yoshiyuki; Kato, Masato

Proceedings of International Conference on Toward and Over the Fukushima Daiichi Accident (GLOBAL 2011) (CD-ROM), 7 Pages, 2011/12

Development of high burn-up fuels is essential to improve economy of the fast reactor fuel cycle. Increase of fuel burn-up is known to cause fuel-cladding chemical interaction (FCCI) and it mainly determines a lifetime of fuel pin. In order to extend a lifetime of fuel pin by mitigating FCCI, development of low oxygen-to-metal (O/M) MOX fuel has been carried out in plutonium fuel development center of JAEA. MOX fuel needs adjustment of the O/M ratio to less than 1.97 for high burn-up of 150 GWd/t. Therefore, O/M adjustment technology is one of the main subjects in development of a simplified MOX pellet fabrication method which has been advanced in the FaCT (Fast reactor Cycle Technology development) project. In previous work, changes in O/M ratio of MOX pellet during heat treatment were calculated from measurement results of oxygen potentials. On the basis of above calculation, heating tests were carried out to prepare low O/M ratio MOX pellets on a laboratory scale. The O/M ratios obtained in the heating tests were well consistent with calculation results. In the present study, a kilogram MOX scale furnace to adjust O/M ratio of MOX pellets for targeted value has been developed as next step.

JAEA Reports

Characteristics of pore formers in low density MOX pellet fabrication

Mizuno, Mineo; Haga, Tetsuya; Sudo, Katsuo; Takeuchi, Kentaro; Okita, Takatoshi; Kihara, Yoshiyuki

JAEA-Technology 2011-009, 100 Pages, 2011/06


Crystalline cellulose granulated to sizes from 70 to 100 micron was previously used as pore former (PF) to fabricate low density MOX pellets for MONJU. When sale of Avicel was discontinued, it became necessary to find a substitute PF. Then, small scale fabrication tests of MOX pellets with candidate PFs were conducted. Three candidate PFs, cellulose beads, CEOLUS and CELPHERE, were examined in the tests. The results are summarized below. (1) The CELPHERE gave MOX pellets with almost same density depression performance as pellets using Avicel, and standards deviation of the sintered densities of pellets was the smallest. (2) MOX pellets with CELPHERE had lower incidence of observable defects. (3) MOX pellets with CELPHERE had almost the same O/M as pellets with Avicel. (4) MOX pellets with CELPHERE had lower incidence of micro cracks. (5) The densification amount of pellets with CELPHERE was almost the same as that of pellets with Avicel. It was concluded CELPHERE was a suitable substitute for Avicel.

Journal Articles

Physical properties and irradiation behavior analysis of Np- and Am-bearing MOX fuels

Kato, Masato; Maeda, Koji; Ozawa, Takayuki; Kashimura, Motoaki; Kihara, Yoshiyuki

Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology, 48(4), p.646 - 653, 2011/04

Physical properties and irradiation behavior of minor actinide-bearing MOX were evaluated for the development of advanced fast reactor fuels. The physical properties of the fuels were described as functions of minor actinide content and oxygen-to-metal ($$O$$/$$M$$) ratio, and the effect of minor actinide addition into MOX on those properties was found to be negligibly small. The irradiation tests of fuel pellets having $$O$$/$$M$$ ratios of 1.98 or 1.96 were carried out at high linear heat rate of about 430W/cm. The redistribution of actinide element and oxygen were analyzed by using the evaluated properties, and maximum temperatures of the pellets were estimated. The maximum temperature of the pellets of $$O$$/$$M$$=1.96 was estimated to reach 2680K which was 130K higher than that of $$O$$/$$M$$=1.98 pellets. The maximum temperature of the pellet was lower as compared with its melting temperature of higher than 3000K. In the results of post-irradiation examination, no trace of melting was observed.

Journal Articles

Development of an advanced fabrication process for fast reactor MOX fuel pellets

Kato, Masato; Segawa, Tomoomi; Takeuchi, Kentaro; Kashimura, Motoaki; Kihara, Yoshiyuki

Proceedings of International Conference on Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycle; Sustainable Options & Industrial Perspectives (Global 2009) (CD-ROM), p.2051 - 2058, 2009/09

In the Fast Reactor Cycle technology Development (FaCT) project conducted by Japan Atomic Energy Agency, minor actinide-containing MOX (MA-MOX) fuel has been developed. The fuel is a homogeneous MOX fuel which contains a maximum of 5% MA such as Am and Np. The oxygen-to-metal (O/M) ratio of the fuel is adjusted to less than 1.97 to control fuel and cladding chemical interaction in a high burn-up of 150 GWd/t. In this paper, the thermal properties of raw powder and sintering behavior of oxidized powder were investigated. In addition the O/M ratio adjustment procedure was established.

Journal Articles

Innovative powder production and granulation for advanced MOX fuel fabrication

Kurita, Tsutomu; Kato, Yoshiyuki; Yoshimoto, Katsunobu; Suzuki, Masahiro; Kihara, Yoshiyuki; Fujii, Kanichi

Proceedings of International Conference on Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycle; Sustainable Options & Industrial Perspectives (Global 2009) (CD-ROM), p.94 - 102, 2009/09

With regard to advanced MOX fuel fabrication, a new concept in which one vessel especially designed to meet microwave de-nitration is utilized also for crushing and for granulation, without organic lubricant nor powder transfer across the processes, was introduced for innovative MOX powder production. In order to realize this concept, two attempts were made: A specially designed three blade impeller coupled with auxiliary blade. A uniquely shaped mixing blade coupled with an auxiliary blade having auto-orbital hybrid rotation. The mixing blade promotes the growth of particles, whereas the auxiliary blade suppresses the overgrowth by chopping larger particles. These granulators use a little water as binder. As a result, major diameter of granule 400-1000 micron and flow-ability 82-85 was obtained with fine WO$$_{3}$$ model powder. Therefore, a prospect to satisfy both desirable powder properties and simplified nuclear material production was opened, as well as improvement of working efficiency and cut down on costs.

Journal Articles

Flowability measurement of coarse particles using vibrating tube method

Ishii, Katsunori; Suzuki, Masahiro; Yamamoto, Takuma; Kihara, Yoshiyuki; Kato, Yoshiyuki; Kurita, Tsutomu; Yoshimoto, Katsunobu; Yasuda, Masatoshi*; Matsusaka, Shuji*

Journal of Chemical Engineering of Japan, 42(5), p.319 - 324, 2009/05

 Times Cited Count:7 Percentile:30.66(Engineering, Chemical)

The flowability of coarse particles has been experimentally investigated using the vibrating tube method, to evaluate the applicability of this method to MOX (mixed oxide of PuO$$_{2}$$ and UO$$_{2}$$) particles which are nuclear fuel used for electric power production. Five sizes of non-radioactive model particles, smaller than 850 micrometers, made of ZrO$$_{2}$$ were prepared, and the experiments were carried out using vibrating tubes with an outlet diameter from 2 to 4 mm. The outlet diameter significantly affected the flowability measurements. When using the tube with a 4-mm-outlet diameter, the flowability of all the model particles was successfully measured. The inclination angle of the tube, also, affected the flowability measurements. From the advantages of high sensitivity, short measurement time, simple structure, and easy operation, the vibrating tube method is expected to be applied to the remote flowability measurement of the MOX particles.

Journal Articles

The Phase state at high temperatures in the MOX-SiO$$_{2}$$ system

Nakamichi, Shinya; Kato, Masato; Sunaoshi, Takeo*; Uchida, Teppei; Morimoto, Kyoichi; Kashimura, Motoaki; Kihara, Yoshiyuki

Journal of Nuclear Materials, 389(1), p.191 - 196, 2009/05

 Times Cited Count:2 Percentile:18.35(Materials Science, Multidisciplinary)

Japan Atomic Energy Agency researchers have developed mixed oxide (MOX) fuels containing minor actinides (MA). These fuels were irradiated for ten minutes in the FBR Joyo in some short-term irradiation tests. The Si-condensed phases were observed at the center of the pellets in the post irradiation examination. Si impurities came to be mixed into the raw materials in the ball milling process, because Si rubber was used as the lining of the milling pot. Content of Si in the pellets was within the specification of the fuel. It is important to investigate the Si state in MOX at high temperatures like the reactor operating temperature of the fuel to evaluate irradiation behavior. In the present work, MOX specimens with mixed SiO$$_{2}$$ impurity were prepared. The ratio of MOX to SiO$$_{2}$$ was controlled at a mol fraction of 3 to 1. The specimens were first heated at 1973K in atmospheres of three different oxygen partial pressures to adjust the O/M ratio. Then these specimens were sealed in a tungsten capsule, and heated at 2273K or 2673K. Compounds consisting of Pu and Si were observed at grain boundaries of the MOX matrix in specimens after heat treatment. These compounds were not observed in grain interior and MOX matrix was not affected significantly by Si impurity. These compounds tended to form in specimens with low O/M ratio and in specimens heated at higher temperatures.

Journal Articles

Application of microwave heating to MOX fuel production and its contribution to Japanese energy strategy

Suzuki, Masahiro; Ishii, Katsunori; Yamamoto, Takuma; Kihara, Yoshiyuki; Kato, Yoshiyuki; Kurita, Tsutomu; Yoshimoto, Katsunobu; Fujii, Kanichi

Proceedings of Global Congress on Microwave Energy Applications (GCMEA 2008/MAJIC 1st), p.501 - 504, 2008/08

The natural resources, oil and uranium, would dry up around the midway of this century. FBR cycle most probably rescues this difficult situation. Mass production of MOX fuel for FBR, therefore, is the supreme subject to Japanese energy strategy. For this subject, we are attacking with Microwave heating technology. Up to present, we have succeeded to produce excellent PuO$$_{2}$$/UO$$_{2}$$ bulk, 2 kgMOX/batch, advancing toward the mass production target, 5 kgU/h for one batch.

Journal Articles

Feasibility study on particle flowability evaluation in simplified MOX pellet fabrication process using vibrating tube method

Ishii, Katsunori; Suzuki, Masahiro; Yamamoto, Takuma; Kihara, Yoshiyuki; Yasuda, Masatoshi*; Matsusaka, Shuji*

Funtai Kogakkai-Shi, 45(5), p.290 - 296, 2008/05

Particle flowability test using a vibrating tube with a tapered end was carried out to evaluate the applicability of this method to the analysis of MOX particles for nuclear fuel pellet fabrication. In this experiment, zirconia particles were used as model particles, which are less than several hundred micrometers in diameter. The sample particles were prepared by mixing the particles with different sizes, whose shape and surface state were changed by a mechanical treatment. The experimental results showed that the removal of smaller particles is more effective than the mechanical surface treatment to improve the flowability. Furthermore, it was found that the vibrating tube method can identify the difference of the particle flowability more easily and clearly than the method based on Carr's flowability index.

Journal Articles

Vibro-packing experiment of non-spherical uranium dioxide particles with spherical metallic uranium particles

Matsuyama, Shinichiro*; Ishii, Katsunori; Hirai, Mutsumi*; Tsuboi, Yasushi*; Kihara, Yoshiyuki

Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology, 44(3), p.317 - 322, 2007/03

 Times Cited Count:0 Percentile:0.01(Nuclear Science & Technology)

Japan Atomic Energy Agency has been developing vibro-packed fuel as one candidate for commercial fast breeder reactor fuels. In this study, vibro-packing experiments were carried out to investigate particle behavior during vibro-packing and particle distribution after vibro-packing in a cladding tube. Non-spherical uranium dioxide particles and spherical metallic uranium particles were used to simulate mixed oxide particles and oxygen getter particles. These experiments revealed that it is important to feed each size of fuel particles uniformly into a cladding tube without size segregation in order to obtain a vibro-packed fuel pin with oxygen getter particles uniformly dispersed. "Simultaneous feeding" with volumetric powder feeders is useful to obtain a vibro-packed fuel pin with oxygen getter particles uniformly dispersed.

Journal Articles

FUJI, an initial sintering comparison test for pelletized-, sphere-pac- and vipac-fast breeder reactor mixed oxide fuel

Bart, G.*; Bakker, K.*; Hellwig, C.*; Kihara, Yoshiyuki; Ozawa, Takayuki; Wallin, H.*; Shigetome, Yoshiaki

Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology, 44(3), p.329 - 336, 2007/03

 Times Cited Count:4 Percentile:32.1(Nuclear Science & Technology)

Within the FUJI collaboration program among Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA, former JNC), Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI, Switzerland) and Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG, the Netherlands) the production paths of plutonium and neptunium mixed oxide- (sphere-pac- and vipac-) particle fuels (20wt% Pu and 5wt% Np) are tested as well as the initial sintering and power-to-melt behavior under simulated FBR conditions. The various fuel forms were produced at PSI under the support of JNC, the irradiations were accomplished at High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten, the post irradiation examinations are being achieved mainly at NRG and the fuel modelling being performed at JNC and PSI. The present paper reviews mainly the project planning, fuel behaviour- pre-calculations and the fuel- and fuel segment- production. A short overview of the irradiation conditions and ceramographic post irradiation examination analyses is also given.

JAEA Reports

Development of fuel microspheres fabrication by the external gelation process

Tomita, Yutaka; Morihira, Masayuki; Tamaki, Yoshihisa*; Nishimura, Kazuhisa*; Shoji, Shuichi*; Kihara, Yoshiyuki; Kase, Takeshi; Koizumi, Tsutomu

JAEA-Research 2006-088, 95 Pages, 2007/01


JAEA has developed sphere-pac fuels in the feasibility study on commercialized FBR cycle systems as one of the candidates for low decontamination TRU fuels. Optimization of the fabrication condition for coarse spheres, development of an improved external gelation process, and examination of peculiar problems for the low decontamination fuel were carried out in Phase II. The results are shown as follows. (1) Fabrication condition of coarse spheres was optimized. (2) Feasibility of the improved external gelation process was confirmed. (3) Rare earth elements did not bring any problem for the characteristic of spheres and fabrication condition. (4) Radiation resistant data of the feed solution was acquired. Results of tests show the feasibility of the external gelation process for the low decontamination TRU fuel microsphere fabrication.

JAEA Reports

Report of the collaboration project for research and development of sphere-pac fuel among JNC-PSI-NRG (II); Irradiation tests and post irradiation examinations (Joint research)

Nakamura, Masahiro; Ozawa, Takayuki; Morihira, Masayuki; Kihara, Yoshiyuki

JAEA-Research 2006-028, 146 Pages, 2006/03


The collaboration project concerning sphere-pac fuel among JNC (Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute, now Japan Atomic Energy Agency), Swiss PSI (Paul Scherrer Institut) and Dutch NRG (Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group) was performed from 1996 till 2005. The target of this project is comparative irradiation tests of sphere-pac fuel in the HFR (High Flux Reactor) in Petten in the Netherlands with pellet fuel and vipac fuel. Total 16 fuel segments (8 pins) containing 5%Np-MOX sphere-pac segments were irradiated. No fuel failure was occurred. Restructuring of sphere-pac fuel was quickly progressed in early stage of irradiation, and formation of the central hole was almost completed within 48 hours steady state irradiation. According to the results of the power-to-melt test, the power to melt linear heat rates were estimated as 60kW/m for the sphere-pac fuel and as 73kW/m for the pellet fuel under HFR irradiation conditions. Irradiation behaviors of the vipac fuel and Np-MOX sphere-pac fuel were basically similar to that of the MOX sphere-pac fuel. However, the central hole of the Np-MOX sphere-pac fuel was larger than that of MOX sphere-pac fuel in the restructuring test. It suggests that the thermal conductivity of Np-MOX fuel is smaller than that of MOX fuel.

Journal Articles

PIE results of comparative irradiation tests in HFR for sphere-pac fuel, pellet fuel and vipac fuel

Morihira, Masayuki; Hellwig, C.*; Bakker, J.*; Nakamura, Masahiro; Ozawa, Takayuki; Bart, G.*; Kihara, Yoshiyuki

Proceedings of International Conference on Nuclear Energy System for Future Generation and Global Sustainability (GLOBAL 2005) (CD-ROM), 6 Pages, 2005/10

Comparative irradiation tests of sphere-pac fuel (SPF) with pellet type fuel (PF) and vipac fuel (VPF) were performed in the HFR in the Netherlands in a framework of the collaboration project amog JNC, PSI and NRG. Three restructuring tests and a powet-to-melt test were performed in 2004 and 2005 to obtain rerestructuring data of SPF in the beginning of life as well PTM data. This paper focuses the result of irradiation tests and post irradiation examinations.

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