Computational study of the energetics and defect clustering tendencies for Y- and La-doped UO2

J. M. Solomon, V. Alexandrov, B. Sadigh, A. Navrotsky, M. Asta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The energetics and defect ordering tendencies in solid solutions of fluorite-structured UO2 with trivalent rare earth cations (M 3+ = Y, La) are investigated computationally using a combination of ionic pair potential and density functional theory based methods. Calculated enthalpies of formation with respect to constituent oxides show higher energetic stability for La solid solutions than for Y. Additionally, calculations performed for different atomic configurations show a preference for reduced (increased) oxygen vacancy coordination around La (Y) dopants. The current results are shown to be qualitatively consistent with related calculations and calorimetric measurements of heats of formation in other trivalent doped fluorite oxides, which show a tendency for increasing stability and increasing preference for higher oxygen coordination with increasing size of the trivalent impurity. The implications of these results are discussed in the context of the effect of trivalent impurities on oxygen ion mobilities in UO2, which are relevant to the understanding of experimental observations concerning the effect of trivalent fission products on the oxidative corrosion rates of spent nuclear fuel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
JournalActa Materialia
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • DFT
  • Formation enthalpy
  • Oxygen vacancy
  • Pyrochlore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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