Uranium Nitride Synthesis and Fuel Form fabrication at The University of Manchester: Method Development and Observations

James Buckley

M. Barnett, J. Paul, D. Goddard, T. Abram

The University of Manchester, National Nuclear Laboratory Ltd


As part of the UK’s Advanced Fuel Cycle Programme, the capability to synthesis uranium nitride (UN) and fabricate representative UN fuel forms has been developed at The University of Manchester. Utilising the hydride-nitride-denitride synthesis route, UN powder has been successfully synthesised from uranium metal up to nominal batch sizes of 20 grams with good phase purity. This has facilitated pelletisation studies using cold-press and sinter as well as spark plasma sintering (SPS) to produce high density materials (~95 %T.D.). Through optimisation of the synthesis route a greater understanding of the affect processing parameters have on the properties of the final material has been developed and in turn elucidated on how these properties impact the densification behaviour of the powder. The use of legacy Magnox uranium metal as the starting material has provided a method for understanding the consequence and fate of various elemental impurities during synthesis and fuel form fabrication. This would likely have implications for the use of such material in fuel destined for irradiation in a reactor.

Event Timeslots (1)

Tuesday – 14th September 2021
James Buckley