Mathematical modelling of the pre-oxidation of a uranium carbide fuel pellet

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Shepherd, JS ; Fairweather, M ; Heggs, PJ ; Hanson, BC (2015)
  • Publisher: Elsevier

Uranium carbide is a candidate fuel for future nuclear reactors. However, for it to be implemented in a closed fuel cycle, an outline for its reprocessing is necessary. One proposed method is to oxidise the uranium carbide into uranium oxide which can then be reprocessed using current infrastructure. A mathematical model describing the heat and mass transfer processes involved in such an oxidation has been constructed. The available literature was consulted for reaction coefficients and information on reaction products. A stable and convergent numerical solution has been developed using a combination of finite-difference approximations of the differential equations. Completion times of approximately 3-30h are predicted given a spherical pellet with a radius of 9.35mm under varying initial conditions. The transient temperature distribution throughout the system is predicted, with a maximum temperature of 1458°C observed from an initial temperature of 500°C at an oxygen concentration of 3.15mol m‾³.
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