Formation and growth of intragranular fission gas bubbles in UO2 fuels with burnup of 6-83 GWd/t

S. Kashibe, K. Une, K. Nogita

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The detailed characteristics of intragranular fission gas bubbles in UO2 fuel pellets (burnup: 6-83 GWd/t) before and after postirradiation annealing at 1600 and 1800°C have been examined by TEM and SEM fractography. In the base-irradiated fuels, a high density of small bubbles of about 2 nm in diameter precipitated uniformly in the matrix. When increasing burnup above 44 GWd/t, larger bubbles of 10-20 nm newly appeared in addition to the small bubbles. On heating at high temperatures, bubble growth was saturated within a few minutes. Enhanced coarsening of bubbles was found preferentially near the grain boundaries in the middle burnup fuels of 16-28 GWd/t and throughout the grains in the high burnup fuels of 44 and 83 GWd/t. The bubble growth during annealing was associated with a remarkable decrease of the bubble number density, and the relationship between bubble density Nb and mean diameter db was expressed as Nb α db-2.6. The coarsening was attributed to coalescence via bubble migration for moderately large bubbles of up to 50-60 nm, and to Ostwald ripening accompanied by a sufficient vacancy supply from external vacancy sources such as free surfaces, grain boundaries or irradiation-induced sub-grain boundaries for huge bubbles above 100 nm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-34
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 1993
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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