UN-Nb Composite Fuel as an Advanced Technology Fuel for Use in Light Water Reactors

Max Salata-Barnett1

James Buckley,1 Yulia Mishchenko2, Denise Adorno Lopes3, Dave Goddard4, James Paul4, Tim Abram1

1University of Manchester; 2KTH Royal Institute of Technology; 3Westinghouse Electric Sweden; 4National Nuclear Laboratory.


Uranium nitride (UN) has been of particular focus recently as an advanced technology fuel candidate for light water reactors with the advantages of both a high uranium density and thermal conductivity. This research is focused on improving the water tolerance of UN by means of doping, in an effort to delay the oxidation onset temperature when exposed to high temperature steam. Niobium has been selected as a possible dopant, modelling of the solubility of Nb and NbN shows that the Nb is soluble within UN but not as NbN, which may prove beneficial for the doped microstructure. This research investigates UN pellets doped with 2.5-20 vol.% niobium, fabricated via Spark Plasma Sintering to produce low porosity material. Microstructural characterisation will provide information on the solubility behaviour of Nb in UN. The water tolerance on the composites will be investigated by exposure to high temperature steam in an STA to determine the rate of oxidation and onset temperature.

Event Timeslots (1)

Tuesday – 14th September 2021
Max Salata-Barnett