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Naval Nuclear Fuels Question

Having attended Navy Nuclear Power School over twenty years ago, my

memory has obviously failed me. During a discussion last week, a debate

started over the naval reactor fuel matrix make-up (the meat). I think I

remember being taught that the navy used a uranium oxide matrix with a

niobium coating. The other debater believed uranium fuel was processed

as a metallic matrix (excluding the cladding of course). Yesterday, he

presented evidence to support his claim that "fuel elements contained

uranium 235 in a metallic form" and "fuel elements consisting of

uranium-zirconium alloy clad with zirconium..."  The reference sites

information for the Mark I reactor design and a time frame of March,

1950, however, I attended nuc school in 1980.

My question: Did the navy switch from a metallic fuel matrix (as

presented in the reference I was given) to an oxide fuel matrix sometime

after 1950, and if so when?

I can only accept responses which site a creditable reference, and which

is NOT security classified.  I need this information for technical

reasons, not just to prove that I still have a good memory.  Any insight

would be greatly appreciated, as I have looked, but have not found.

Please respond directly to me, as this is probably not a topic that

everybody on Radsafe wants to know about.

As always, thanks in advance for your fantastic support!

Michael McDonald, CHP, RRPT

MACTEC Constructors

Grand Junction, Colorado




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