The effect of fission-energy Xe ion irradiation on the structural integrity and dissolution of the CeO$_2$ matrix

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Popel, AJ 
Le Solliec, S 
Lampronti, GI 
Day, J 
Petrov, PK 

© 2016 The Authors.This work considers the effect of fission fragment damage on the structural integrity and dissolution of the CeO₂ matrix in water, as a simulant for the UO₂ matrix of spent nuclear fuel. For this purpose, thin films of CeO₂ on Si substrates were produced and irradiated by 92 MeV 129Xe23+ ions to a fluence of 4.8 × 1015 ions/cm2 to simulate fission damage that occurs within nuclear fuels along with bulk CeO₂ samples. The irradiated and unirradiated samples were characterised and a static batch dissolution experiment was conducted to study the effect of the induced irradiation damage on dissolution of the CeO₂ matrix. Complex restructuring took place in the irradiated films and the irradiated samples showed an increase in the amount of dissolved cerium, as compared to the corresponding unirradiated samples. Secondary phases were also observed on the surface of the irradiated CeO₂ films after the dissolution experiment.

CeO2, Thin films, Ion irradiation, Radiation damage, Dissolution, Secondary phases
Journal Title
Journal of Nuclear Materials
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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L018616/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/I036400/1)
The irradiation experiment was performed at the Grand Accélérateur National d’Ions Lourds (GANIL) Caen, France, and supported by the French Network EMIR. The support in planning and execution of the experiment by the CIMAP-CIRIL and the GANIL staff, especially, I. Monnet, C. Grygiel, T. Madi and F. Durantel is much appreciated. Thanks are given to I. Buisman and M. Walker from the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge for help in conducting electron probe microanalysis and polishing the samples, respectively. A.J. Popel acknowledges funding from the UK EPSRC (grant EP/I036400/1 and EP/L018616/1) and Radioactive Waste Management Ltd (formerly the Radioactive Waste Management Directorate of the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, contract NPO004411A-EPS02).
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