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Methods for manufacturing porous nuclear fuel elements for high-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactors

United States Patent

February 23, 2010
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Sandia National Laboratories - Visit the Intellectual Property Management and Licensing Website
Methods for manufacturing porous nuclear fuel elements for use in advanced high temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactors (HTGR's). Advanced uranium bi-carbide, uranium tri-carbide and uranium carbonitride nuclear fuels can be used. These fuels have high melting temperatures, high thermal conductivity, and high resistance to erosion by hot hydrogen gas. Tri-carbide fuels, such as (U,Zr,Nb)C, can be fabricated using chemical vapor infiltration (CVI) to simultaneously deposit each of the three separate carbides, e.g., UC, ZrC, and NbC in a single CVI step. By using CVI, a thin coating of nuclear fuel may be deposited inside of a highly porous skeletal structure made, for example, of reticulated vitreous carbon foam.
Youchison; Dennis L. (Albuquerque, NM), Williams; Brian E. (Pocoima, CA), Benander; Robert E. (Pacoima, CA)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
11/ 435,412
May 17, 2006
FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Department of Energy Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 with Sandia Corporation.