Interaction of UO2 and Zircaloy during the Chernobyl accident

S. V. Ushakov, B. E. Burakov, S. I. Shabalev, E. B. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A summary of the results collected during the studies of the products of a chemical interaction between uranium oxide fuel and Zircaloy cladding in the Chernobyl accident is presented in this paper. The reaction products are mainly Zr-U-containing phases with different U/Zr ratio and are described on the basis of electron microprobe and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses. The Zr-U-bearing phases were discovered among the inclusions in different types of Chernobyl fuel-containing masses (`lava') inside the destroyed 4th Unit and in hot particles collected up to 12 km from the 4th Unit along the West Plume. A correlation of data on the chemical composition and phase interrelations obtained in investigated samples with a phase diagram of Zr(O) - UO2 shows, that a temperature >1900 °C was reached in a part of the core before the explosion. The detection of hot particle with segregated morphology points out that liquid immiscibility existed between U-rich and Zr-rich melts. This and other observations indicate that the core temperature locally was above 2400-2600 °C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1313-1318
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1996 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Dec 2 1996Dec 5 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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