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Aqueous leaching of high burnup UO2 fuel under hydrogen conditions

  • Anders Puranen (a1), Olivia Roth (a1), Lena Z. Evins (a2) and Kastriot Spahiu (a2)

Leaching results on fragments of high burnup (65 MWd/kgU) UO2 fuel from a commercial pressurized water reactor are presented. The experiment was performed in simplified granitic groundwater under a hydrogen pressure of up to 5 MPa, representing conditions in a water intrusion scenario for a Swedish KBS-3 design spent nuclear fuel repository. The freshly crushed fragments were pre-washed for 6 days to remove pre-oxidized matrix and part of the instant release fraction of the radionuclide inventory, and then transferred to an autoclave for leaching under hydrogen conditions. Following an initial release of U attributed to dissolution of a pre-oxidized fuel layer caused by the aerated handling mainly during the transfer from pre-washing to autoclave, the U concentration decreased with time to levels of 2-5x10-9 M, which corresponds, approximately, to the solubility of amorphous UO2. The release of radionuclides such as Cs and Sr gradually declined indicating a transition to inhibition of the fuel matrix dissolution.

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MRS Advances
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