Nanostructured actinide materials have gained the attention of the nuclear community after the discovery of enhanced properties in fuels that undergo high burn up. On these conditions, the UO2 grains experimented recrystallization and formed a new rim of UO2 nanoparticles, called high burn up structures (HBS). The pellets with HBS showed closed porosity with better fission gas retention and radiation tolerance, ameliorated mechanical properties, and less detriment of the thermal conductivity upon use. In this chapter, we will review different ways to obtain uranium nanoparticles, with emphasis on their synthesis and characterization. On the one hand, we will comment on radiation chemical syntheses, organic precursor-assisted syntheses, denitration processes, and biologically mediated syntheses. On the other hand, we will include for each of them a reference to the appropriate tools of the materials science that are used to fully characterize physical and chemical properties of these actinide nanoparticles.
Part of the book: Nuclear Materials