Several technologies exist or are under development for treating spent oxide nuclear fuels. Foremost among these are aqueous and pyrochemical reprocessing which both involve a head-end fuel dissolution step. This dissolution step may potentially be shortened if it is combined with a fuel decladding and size reduction process. Declad and Oxidize (DEOX), an advanced head-end processing concept, is being assessed at Argonne National Laboratory to meet these decladding and size reduction needs via the oxidation of UO2 to U3O8. This work is being done in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The primary objectives of the DEOX process are to generate suitable feed material for these two fuel treatment processes and to collect information about the behavior of spent fuel during DEOX processing. Specifically, DEOX is intended to remove the spent fuel from its cladding, while avoiding oxidation of the cladding that would contaminate the product. An additional goal is to obtain a product particle size distribution between 45μm to 4mm. Data will be collected on the extent of fuel oxidation and on the volatilization of fission products. The experimental apparatus used to perform these experiments is described in this report along with preliminary test results.

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