Multiscale simulation of xenon diffusion and grain boundary segregation in UO2

David A. Andersson, Michael R. Tonks, Luis Casillas, Shyam Vyas, Pankaj Nerikar, Blas P. Uberuaga, Christopher R. Stanek

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    33 Scopus citations


    In light water reactor fuel, gaseous fission products segregate to grain boundaries, resulting in the nucleation and growth of large intergranular fission gas bubbles. The segregation rate is controlled by diffusion of fission gas atoms through the grains and interaction with the boundaries. Based on the mechanisms established from earlier density functional theory (DFT) and empirical potential calculations, diffusion models for xenon (Xe), uranium (U) vacancies and U interstitials in UO2 have been derived for both intrinsic (no irradiation) and irradiation conditions. Segregation of Xe to grain boundaries is described by combining the bulk diffusion model with a model for the interaction between Xe atoms and three different grain boundaries in UO2 (Σ5 tilt, Σ5 twist and a high angle random boundary), as derived from atomistic calculations. The present model does not attempt to capture nucleation or growth of fission gas bubbles at the grain boundaries. The point defect and Xe diffusion and segregation models are implemented in the MARMOT phase field code, which is used to calculate effective Xe and U diffusivities as well as to simulate Xe redistribution for a few simple microstructures.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)15-25
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
    • Materials Science(all)
    • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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