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American scientists using 3D printing technology to make silicide uranium fuel
Aug 23, 2018

Now 3D printing technology in the medical, aerospace, oil and gas, automotive and consumer goods, and so on many areas have become more widely used.But surely not many people know that 3D printing techniques can also be used to produce nuclear fuel!Scientists from the United States the Idaho national laboratory (INL) to 3D printing and the combination of traditional craft, and has successfully created a silicide uranium fuel (U3Si2).

With this new method can comprehensively improve the efficiency of nuclear fuel cycle economy

Currently most of the nuclear power plants use nuclear fuel is UO2 (uranium dioxide).But, by contrast, the density of U3Si2 bigger, better thermal conductivity, can improve the safety and efficiency of nuclear reactors.So, the main research direction in the U3Si2 INL.

                                                                          In the experiment,

The INL study called AMAFT, by Isabella, Dr Van Rooyen Clemente Parga, PhD, and power plant construction company Ed Lahoda of Westinghouse, conducted by grinding uranium ore processing methods (traditional) and "laser shaping 3D printing" this two kinds of craft.In the experiment, INL has made this way out of the compact U3Si2 balls, specific steps is first by laser to create a molten pool, and then mixed U3Si2 powder and other raw materials.

                                                                      3D printing materials

Compared with traditional methods, this new method greatly reduces the available raw uranium can be converted to the speed of the material, so faster and more cheaply.In addition, it also has an advantage, it is a universality, which can deal with any uranium.That is to say, it can be used in many ways, to use strong flexibility, allowing them to use a variety of raw materials.

It is worth mentioning, the project has gained the support of the United States department of energy (DOE), AMAFT has successful step on the road to commercialization.Believe that before long, it will be put into practical use.

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