• Published : 2009.03.30


High burn-up transformation process in low temperature nuclear fuel oxides material was observed in the early sixties in LWR $UO_2$ fuels, but not studied in depth. Increasing progressively the fuel discharge burn-up in PWR power plants, this material transformation was again observed in 1985 and identified as an important process to be accounted for in the fuel simulations due to its expected consequence on fuel heat transfer and therefore on the fission gas release. Fission gas release was one of the major concerns in PWR fuels, mainly during transient or accidents events. The behaviour of such a material in case of rod failure was also an important aspect to analyse. Therefore several national and international programs were launched during the last 25 years to understand the mechanisms leading to the high burn-up structure formation and to evaluate the physical properties of the final material. A large observations database has been acquired, using the more sophisticated techniques available in hot cells. This large database is discussed in this paper, providing basis to build an engineering-model, which is based on phenomenological description data and information accumulated. In addition this paper has the ambition to construct the best logical model to understand restructuring.



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