Contribution of phases segregated from the UO2 matrix to the release of radionuclides from spent nuclear fuel and duration of the Instant Release Fraction (IRF)
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During the dissolution of the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) some radionuclides are released to the solution simultaneously from different sources in the fuel. This is of particular importance to some radionuclides that contribute to the Instant Release Fraction (IRF), which govern the initial radiation dose during the dissolution of the SNF. In this work a model that is able to discriminate between the different contributions responsible for the total concentration of a radionuclide in solution was developed. The model permits to establish that uranium and radionuclides that dissolved congruently with the UO2 matrix came from two sources as a function of time: oxidized phases on the surface of the SNF including fines and the matrix itself. Other radionuclides such as Ru and Rh were released from metallic precipitates with dissolution rates lower than the matrix dissolution rate. In the case of radionuclides that were expected to contribute to the IRF, this work showed that Cs, Rb and Sr had initial release rates higher than uranium because a fraction of such radionuclides were segregated from the matrix during the irradiation. Actually it was calculated that the fraction of those radionuclides in the grain boundaries in a BWR SNF powder sample from the center part of a pellet (burnup 42 MWd/kgU) was 2.1%, 0.9%, and 0.6% for Cs, Rb, and Sr, respectively. In addition, the model permitted to calculate the duration of their contribution to the IRF, matrix dissolution governed the release of such radionuclides after 137 days, 75 days, and 164 days for Cs, Rb, and Sr, respectively (at these times, the contribution of the release from grain boundaries was lower than the 0.1%).
CitationEspriu-Gascon, A. [et al.]. Contribution of phases segregated from the UO2 matrix to the release of radionuclides from spent nuclear fuel and duration of the Instant Release Fraction (IRF). "Journal of nuclear materials", 15 Abril 2020, vol. 532, p. 152066:1-152066:7.