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Preliminary results of the MARINE experiment: Irradiation of Sphere-Pac and Pellets of UO2-x for Americium Bearing Blanket concept.

Abstract: 
Transmutation by irradiation in nuclear reactors of nuclides like 241Am is an option for the reduction of radiotoxicity, residual power packing density as well as the repository area. One of the most attractive possibilities to burn Minor Actinides is represented by the Americium Bearing Blanket (AmBB) concept. In this option, Am is concentrated in a UO2 matrix and irradiated for a long time (from 1800 to 4100 EFPD, according to the scenarios) in radial blankets at the periphery of the outer core of a sodium fast reactor. The MARINE experiment consists of two pins with (U0.85 , Am0.15)O2-x which will give a clue on the behavior of sphere-pac fuel compared to pellet fuel in the AmBB concept. The experiment will give also an indication on the in-pile behavior of UO2 containing Americium in order to gain knowledge on the role of the microstructure and of the temperature on the gas release and on fuel swelling for the AmBB concept. The MARINE experiment is carried out in the framework of the 4-year project PELGRIMM of the EURATOM 7th Framework Programme (FP7). The MARINE experiment started in January 2016 and will be concluded in May 2017 in the HFR (High Flux Reactor) in Petten (The Netherlands). It has been irradiated for 360 EFPD as planned corresponding to 12 months of irradiation which is equivalent (in term of He production) to an irradiation of ~2000 EFPD in a blanket of a SFR. This paper covers the preliminary result of the experiment in term of first assessment and temperature recording. Post Irradiation Examination will be conducted within the framework of European Energy Research Alliance-Joint Programme on Nuclear Material (EERA-JPNM).