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Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors
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Abstracts and Available Papers Presented at the
1997 International RERTR Meeting

First Results of U3Si2 Production and its Relevance in the Power
Scaleup of IPEN Research Reactor IEA-R1m

Saliba-Silva1, A. M.; Souza, J. A. B. 1; Frajndlich, E. U. C. 1; Perrotta, J. A.2; Durazzo, M.1

1Departmento do Ciclo do Combustivel
Instituto de Pesquisas Energeticas e Nucleares (IPEN/CNEN-SP)
Cidade Universitaria (USP),
Travessa R, 400 CEP05508-900 Sao Paulo (SP)

2Divisao de Engenharia do Nucleo, IPEN/CNEN-SP


The own supply of LEU U3Si2 is crucial for IPEN, since the whole scale-up of IPEN MTR IEA-Rlm reactor will rely on it. The Brazilian request for radioisotopes production is fully linked with the already made power scale-up from 2 to 5 MW for this reactor. IPEN now depends on fuel element material upgrading from U3O8 towards LEU U3Si2. The fuel plate productive technology from the powdered material is already well established, only needing simple making of minor adjustments, but to reach the stage of producing U3Si2 we need a fully settled chemical pilot plant in order to reach a LEU UF4 productive routine. Complementing this process, it was also needed to scale down the previous practice of uranium magnesiothermic reduction to around a sub-critical safe uranium mass of approximately 3000g. To complete the metallurgical processing, it is being developed the production of U3Si2 in a vacuum induction furnace. Some experiments to get this intermetallic, using natural uranium, have already been carried out in order to build up a general idea of the future process of LEU U3Si2. These experiments are described in this paper and also some of the initial characterization results, such as the qualification pattern of the ingot. It is also discussed some new features of inhomogeneity of solidified phases that may be deleterious to future production routine.

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Mr. A. Saliba-Silva
Department of Fuel Cycle
Cidade Universitaria
Travessa R, 400
CEP 05586-060 Sao Paulo
SP, Brazil
Tel.: 55-11-816-9375
Fax: 55-11-816-9394
E-mail: [email protected]

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Last modified on July 29, 2008 11:33 +0200