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Dear Twitterverse, welcome to another installment of #ATFriday! The last few weeks, we've talked about cladding, its failure mechanisms, and some proposed replacement cladding designs. This week, we will be digging into nuclear fuel basics. 1/16
We'll start with something really simple. What is nuclear fuel made of? Well, it turns out that the answer isn't that simple. It depends what kind of reactor you're talking about. A lot of research reactors use uranium silicide (U3Si2) as a fuel. 2/16
The commercial light-water reactor power production fleet uses pellets of uranium dioxide (UO2). UO2 is a ceramic material with a high melting temperature and great fission product retention, but it does have its downsides. So what properties are desirable in a nuclear fuel? 3/16
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