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March 25, 2004

Casting Furnace Design
Dr. Yitung Chen , Dr. Darrell Pepper ,
Dr. Randy Clarksean , Xiaolong Wu, Taide Tan

Design and Analysis for Melt Casting Metallic Fuel pins Incorporating Volatile Actinides The development of higher actinide transmutation fuels systems presents a challenge for many scientists and engineers. Fuel must behave in a benign manner during reactor off-normal events, maintain integrity to high burnup, lend itself to low-loss recycling processes, and be easily fabricated in a remote environment. These criteria are important for a fuel to perform and function efficiently and effectively within a transmutation system. Currently, engineers and scientists do not have enough data to design and optimize the selection of a fuel system. The fundamental design and analysis for fuel system and fabrication research are needed to lay the groundwork for future fuel development. The Accelerator-driven Transmutation of Waste (ATW) program has listed several critical issues in fuel requirements: cladding integrity, fission product retention, and dimensional, chemical, and metallurgical stability during irradiation under both normal and off-normal conditions. Volatile actinide elements, such as americium, can be easily incorporated into metallic alloy fuel pins under traditional casting process using inductively heated crucible. The traditional casting process performs well for fabrication of metal fuel pins composed of alloys, including uranium and plutonium. However, it is not suitable when high volatile actinides are present in the melted mixture. Low-pressure actinides, particularly americium, are susceptible to rapid vaporization and transport throughout the casting furnace, resulting in a fraction of the charge being incorporated into the fuel pins as desired. A robust casting process for the metallic fuel pins containing volatile actinides will be evaluated and developed. The design and analysis for melt casting metallic fuel pins incorporating volatile actinides will be focused on selecting, evaluating, and modeling potential alternatives to traditional injection casting processes already in use at the Argonne National Laboratory. Processing conditions, basic models utilization, and detailed of heat and mass transfer models will also be developed and analyzed.

Sponsor: Advanced Accelerator Application/University Particpation Program
Collaborator: Argonne National Laboratory - West



Nevada Center for Advanced Computational Methods