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Formation of hot particles during the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident
The oxidation of irradiated Chernobyl nuclear fuel at 670 to 1170 K for 3 to 21 h resulted in its destruction into fine particles, the dispersal composition of which is well described by lognormal distribution regularity. The median radius of the formed particles does not depend on the annealing temperature and decreases with the increase of the annealing period from 10 to 3 μm. Proceeding from the dispersal composition and matrix composition of the Chernobyl hot fuel particles, it can be concluded that the oxidation of nuclear fuel was one of the basic mechanisms of hot fuel particle formation during the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. With oxidation in air and the dispersal of irradiated oxide nuclear fuel at as low as 670 K, ruthenium, located on the granular borders, is released. Ruthenium is oxidized to volatile RuO4, sublimated, and condensed on materials of iron. Nickel and stainless steel can be efficiently used at high temperatures (tested to 1200K) for radioruthenium adsorption in accidents and for some technological operations. As the temperature of hot fuel particles annealed in inert media increases from 1270 to 2270 K, the relative release of radionuclides increases in the following sequence : cesium isotopes,- europium isotopes ; cerium isotopes ; americium isotopes ; and ruthenium, plutonium, and curium isotopes.
American Nuclear Society
ISSN : 0029-5450 CODEN : NUTYBB
Nuclear technology A. 1996, vol. 114, n° 2, pp. 246-253 [bibl. : 18 ref.]
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