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Theses

High temperature phase transitions in nuclear fuels of the fourth generation.

Abstract : Understanding the behaviour of nuclear materials in extreme conditions is of prime importance for the analysis of the operation limits of nuclear fuels, and prediction of possible nuclear reactor accidents, relevant to the general objectives of nuclear safety research. The main purpose of this thesis is the study of high temperature phase transitions in nuclear materials, with special attention to the candidate fuel materials for the reactors of the 4th Generation. In this framework, material properties need to be investigated at temperatures higher than 2500K, where equilibrium conditions are difficult to obtain. Laser heating combined with fast pyrometer is the method used at the European Institute for Transuranium Elements (JRC – ITU). It is associated to a novel process used to determine phase transitions, based on the detection, via a suited low-power (mW) probe laser, of changes in surface reflectivity that may accompany solid/liquid phase transitions. Fast thermal cycles, from a few ms up to the second, under almost container-free conditions and control atmosphere narrow the problem of vaporisation and sample interactions usually meet with traditional method. This new experimental approach has led to very interesting results. It confirmed earlier research for material systems known to be stable at high temperature (such as U-C) and allowed a refinement of the corresponding phase diagrams. But it was also feasible to apply this method to materials highly reactive, thus original results are presented on PuO2, NpO2, UO2-PuO2 and Pu-C systems.
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Franck De Bruycker. High temperature phase transitions in nuclear fuels of the fourth generation.. Other. Université d'Orléans, 2010. English. ⟨NNT : 2010ORLE2060⟩. ⟨tel-00608065⟩

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