In the last years considerable efforts have been made at the Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) in order to reestablish European knowledge and ability in safety testing of irradiated high temperature reactor (HTR) Fuel Elements. In the framework of the 6th European framework programme a cold finger apparatus (Ku¨FA) furnace, formerly installed at FZ-Ju¨lich (FzJ), has been installed in a hot cell at ITU [Freis 2008] in order to test fission product release under high temperature and non-oxidising conditions. Several analytical methods (e.g. Gamma-spectrometry, mass-spectrometry) have been applied in order to analyse different isotopes released during Ku¨FA tests. After the heating tests, examinations of the fuel elements were performed including scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and micro-hardness testing of coated particles. Individual coated particles were object of heating tests in a Knudsen cell with a coupled mass spectrometer measuring all released species. In order to cover more accident scenarios, a second furnace for oxidising-conditions (air- or water-ingress) was constructed and installed in a cold lab. Furthermore a disintegration apparatus, based on anodic oxidation, was constructed and fuel elements were dissolved obtaining thousands of individual coated particles for further examination. A fully automated irradiated microsphere gamma analyzer (IMGA) is under construction and will be used, in particular, to identify and sort out failed particles.

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