Significant progresses in the performances under in-pile irradiation of particular U-Mo based fuels have been observed over the last fifteen years. One of the remaining issues has still to be tackled for use as a LEU fuel in the high power research reactors: the U-Mo recrystallization and its associated swelling have to be controlled or delayed. One way to mitigate this problem would be to optimize the initial microstructure of U-Mo atomized particle, by homogenizing Mo concentration and increasing grain size. This paper mainly focuses on U-Mo grain growth.
Based on samples prepared in the framework of KOMO-5 and EMPIrE tests, a methodological work based on the use of EBSD is presented. In particular, surface preparation procedures are proposed for powders and rods, this last one being most likely readily applicable for plate analysis.
As-atomized microstructures are analyzed in detail and subsequently compared to those obtained on particles annealed at 1000 °C under various conditions. It is found that 1 h annealing under vacuum is a good compromise of temperature and time to meet the development goals, provided that few impurity precipitates are present within U-Mo particles, since these can impact grain growth.