2023 journal article

Computational determination of a primary diffusion mode in gamma U-10Mo under irradiation


By: G. Park*, B. Beeler* & M. Okuniewski

author keywords: Uranium -molybdenum (U-Mo) alloys; Fission gas; Intrinsic thermal diffusion; Radiation -enhanced diffusion; Rate -theory model; Molecular dynamics; Xenon (Xe)
Source: Web Of Science
Added: January 23, 2023

Low enriched uranium ( < 20 % 235 U)-molybdenum (U-Mo) monolithic fuel is the primary candidate for high-performance research and test reactors and is in the process of being qualified to replace highly-enriched uranium ( ≥ 20 % 235 U) fuel. As part of the qualification process, it is critical to understand and predict the behavior of fission gas bubbles under irradiation, which affects fuel swelling and fuel failure. Mechanistic fuel models are being developed that can both reproduce the existing experimental data for fuel swelling, and be further applied to irradiation conditions beyond the experimental scope. Diffusion of species under irradiation conditions is an important parameter in the mechanistic fuel models; however, no temperature-relevant experimental diffusion data exists. In the present work, radiation-enhanced diffusion coefficients of U, Mo, and Xe in γ U-10wt. % Mo were calculated in the temperature range between 300 K and 1400 K via rate-theory models and molecular dynamics simulations with an embedded-atom method interatomic potential for the U-Mo-Xe system. Accordingly, total diffusion coefficients under relevant irradiation conditions are determined using previously obtained intrinsic thermal diffusion and radiation-driven diffusion coefficients, as well as the newly calculated radiation-enhanced diffusion coefficients presented herein. Radiation-enhanced diffusion of U and Mo was dominant in the intermediate temperature range, whereas radiation-enhanced diffusion of Xe did not significantly contribute to total diffusion of Xe at the relevant fission rate densities. Radiation-enhanced diffusion of Xe became faster than both intrinsic thermal diffusion and radiation-driven diffusion at a fission rate density of 5 × 10 22 fissions/m 3 /s, which is higher than the typical fission rate density range in research reactors. The temperature regime where radiation-enhanced diffusion of each element dominated was dependent on the fission rate density. The total diffusion coefficients of U, Mo, and Xe, updated in this work, will be utilized as parameters in the mechanistic fuel models to help predict the behavior of fission gas bubbles under irradiation more accurately.