Local atomic structure of a zirconia-based americium transmutation fuel

Marcus Walter, Catharina Nästren, Joseph Somers, Regis Jardin, Melissa A. Denecke, Boris Brendebach

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(Zr,Y,Am)O 2 with 6 and 19 mol% Am were prepared by infiltration of americium in porous yttria-stabilised zirconia (YSZ) beads. Samples were sintered at 1600 °C in Ar/H 2 to yield Am(III). By annealing them at 1000 °C in flowing air, the Am is oxidised to Am(IV). Both Am(III) and Am(IV) samples exhibit the presence of a single (Zr,Y,Am)O 2 phase with fluorite structure. The local atomic structure around the Zr, Y, and Am atoms is determined by EXAFS analysis. The Zr-O bond distance decreases from 2.15 to 2.12 Å with increasing Am(III) content, whereas the Y-O bond distance is independent of Am content and oxidation state. The Am(III)-O bond distance is 2.37 Å for both Am concentrations, while oxidation to Am(IV) decreases the Am(IV)-O distance to 2.28 Å, with a simultaneous expansion of the environment around the Zr atoms. The Am-O bond distances are contracted compared with the compounds Am 2Zr 2O 7 and AmO 2 and the distances expected from the ionic radii. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3130-3135
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Solid State Chemistry
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


  • Americium
  • Local structure
  • Minor actinide
  • Transmutation
  • YSZ
  • Zirconia

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Dalton Nuclear Institute


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