Shielded Inert Glove Boxes for Nitride Fuel Fabrication

Shielded inert glove boxes were developed to test equipment and technologies for the U-Pu Nitride Fuel Fabrication/Recycling Facility (FRF) as part of the Pilot Demonstration Energy Complex (PDEC) under construction at the Siberian Chemical Combine(SCC).

In 2015, the Sosny R&D Company won a tender for the manufacture of prototype facilities KEU to develop and test core processes of the mixed uranium-plutonium nitride (MUPN) fuel fabrication at SCC. KEU is a line of 18 inert glove boxes housing experimental equipment for the MUPN fuel fabrication. The shielded boxes accommodate crushing, grinding, mixing and powder granulating machines, furnaces, presses, a particle sizer, and a pellet measuring instrument. The units of the most appropriate and effective design are expected to be commercial prototypes of the PDEC's FRF equipment. KEU also includes auxiliary equipment to support the operation of the glove boxes and in-box equipment.

Under the project, Sosny experts developed documentation for the auxiliary equipment and systems to support the operation of the prototype facilities, as well as for press tools of increased wear resistance for pellet pressing. 

In 2015–2016, the prototype facilities were manufactured, assembled after acceptance tests at the Sosny's PPF, and commissioned at SCC. As a result, the Sosny staff have gained valuable experience in developing inert glove boxes, offering a unique approach to the design and manufacture of shielded boxes for the fabrication of nitride nuclear fuel. The experience had made an essential contribution to developing and manufacturing the FRF's equipment at PDEC.

 

Inert glove boxes for prototype facilities KEU

 

The next step in building FRF for PDEC was developing a process tryout facility (PTF). 

PTF is a support facility intended to try out engineering solutions, optimize process modes, and provide recommendations on changing the process settings for the fabrication of the MUPN fuel at the FRF main facilities.

PTF is a line of 13 consequentially connected boxes separated from one another with air-tight partitions installed in air-lock channels. Three high-temperature retort furnaces (1 backup) connected to the fourteenth box with a gas purification system are available for trying out the pellet carbothermal synthesis and sintering. The boxes have an ionizing radiation shield. The hardware and arrangement of the boxes allow comfortable and quick handling of small quantities of the MUPN fuel by flexibly changing the process modes, if necessary.

The PTF's glove box lines include:

  • powder preparation glove boxes (crushing, mixing, weighing),
  • powder particle sizing glove boxes,
  • a disc pressing glove box,
  • a glove box with a carbothermal synthesis furnace,
  • powder granulation and preparation glove boxes,
  • a glove box with a pellet sintering furnace,
  • pellet sizing glove boxes,
  • scrap treatment glove boxes,
  • a gas purification glove box.

 

 Line of shielded glove boxes

 

Further on, more sophisticated inert glove boxes were fabricated for the U-Pu dioxide pressing area, the U and Pu nitride carbothermal synthesis area, the MUPN pellet pressing area, and the MUPN sintering area for the Fabrication/Recycling Facility at PDEC of the Siberian Chemical Combine, Seversk.

 

FRF inert glove boxes

FRF inert glove boxes

 

The main characteristics of shielded inert glove boxes:

Safety Class to NP-016−05  2N 
Seismic Resistance Category to NP-031-01         I
Climatic Category to GOST 15150-69         У4.2 
Minimum leaktightness  6.7x10m3Pa/s 
Minimum vacuum gauge pressure in the boxes  200 Pa 
Oxygen and moisture concentration  below 50 ppm 
Service life    30 years 

                                                              

                   

                                       

                                                                      

                                

                                                 

                                                                                       

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