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Title: Irradiated graphite waste - stored energy
Author: Lasithiotakis, Michail Georgioy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 082X
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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The cores of early UK graphite moderated research and production nuclear fission reactors operated at temperatures below 150°C. Due to this low temperature their core graphite contains significant amounts of stored (Wigner) energy that may be released by heating the graphite above the irradiation temperature. This exothermic behavior has lead to a number of decommissioning issues which are related to long term "safe-storage", reactor core dismantling, graphite waste packaging and the final disposal of this irradiated graphite waste. The release of stored energy can be modeled using kinetic models. These models rely on empirical data obtained either from graphite samples irradiated in Material Test Reactors (MTR) or data obtained from small samples obtained from the reactors themselves. Data from these experiments is used to derive activation energies and characteristic functions used in kinetic models. This present research involved the development of an understanding of the different grades of graphite, relating the accumulation of stored energy to reactor irradiation history and an investigation of historic stored energy data. The release of stored energy under various conditions applicable to decommissioning has been conducted using thermal analysis techniques such as Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). Kinetic models were developed, validated and applied, suitable for the study of stored energy release in irradiated graphite components. A potentially valid method was developed, for determining the stored energy content of graphite components and the kinetics of energy release. Another parameter investigated in this study was dedicated in the simulation of irradiation damage using ion irradiation. Ion bombardment of small graphite samples is a convenient method of simulating fast neutron irradiation damage. In order to gain confidence that irradiation damage due to ion irradiation is a good model for neutron irradiation damage the properties and microstructure of various grades of ion irradiated nuclear graphite were also investigated. Raman Spectroscopy was employed to compare the effects of ion bombardment with the reported effects of neutron irradiation on the content of the defects. The changes of the of defect content with thermal annealing of the ion irradiated graphite have been compared with the annealing of neutron irradiated nuclear graphite.
Supervisor: Marsden, Barry; Marrow, Thomas Sponsor: Greek State Scholarships Foundation - IKY
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Graphite ; Wigner energy ; activation energy ; kinetics ; defects ; Annealing