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The hot uniaxial press (HUP) furnace is located inside the casting laboratory glovebox, which is an inert atmosphere. The HUP is typically used to heat reactants (that is, metals, metal oxides, chlorides and other inorganics) for a number of chemical reactions and other endothermic processes.
The HUP is a well-type furnace that can accommodate several types of inserts. There are currently three inserts built for the furnace. The first one is the HUP insert. This insert has a load cell and a screw press. This allows a known force to be applied to the sample at temperature. The second insert has a stirring mechanism. The third insert has a gas manifold, allowing the cell interior atmosphere to be controlled.
In order to fabricate experimental metal fuel that approximates recycled spent fuel, Am and Np must be added to metal fuel containing U, Pu, and Zr. There is very little metal available. The HUP, as it is currently installed in the casting laboratory glovebox, is adequately designed for the neptunium oxide reduction process to help alleviate the short-term Np metal shortage. Neptunium oxide is reduced into a metal state by stripping the oxide off. This will allow the neptunium metal in the casting to be able to be decayed in the reactor.
It is a water-cooled well furnace that is monitored for temperatures around the inside of the well and in the sample area. This allows the furnace to be controlled by a computer program that monitors temperature and time of run. The furnace will heat up to 1,000°C and is able to remain at temperature for the required time for the program (usually 8 to 12 hours duration). The furnace can be run continuously (around the clock) to facilitate the program being run. The glovebox is an argon atmosphere. The furnace has the capability to mix/stir the material as it is being heated. The adapters/stands and hardware can be adapted to facilitate different material sizes, types and quantities.