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[en] The project uses an exothermic combustion synthesis reaction, termed self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS), to produce high quality, reproducible nitride fuels and other ceramic type nuclear fuels (cercers and cermets, etc.) in conjunction with the fabrication of transmutation fuels. The major research objective of the project is determining the fundamental SHS processing parameters by first using manganese as a surrogate for americium to produce dense Zr-Mn-N ceramic compounds. These fundamental principles will then be transferred to the production of dense Zr-Am-N ceramic materials. A further research objective in the research program is generating fundamental SHS processing data to the synthesis of (i) Pu-Am-Zr-N and (ii) U-Pu-Am-N ceramic fuels. In this case, Ce will be used as the surrogate for Pu, Mn as the surrogate for Am, and depleted uranium as the surrogate for U. Once sufficient fundamental data has been determined for these surrogate systems, the information will be transferred to Idaho National Laboratory (INL) for synthesis of Zr-Am-N, Pu-Am-Zr-N and U-Pu-Am-N ceramic fuels. The high vapor pressures of americium (Am) and americium nitride (AmN) are cause for concern in producing nitride ceramic nuclear fuel that contains Am. Along with the problem of Am retention during the sintering phases of current processing methods, are additional concerns of producing a consistent product of desirable homogeneity, density and porosity. Similar difficulties have been experienced during the laboratory scale process development stage of producing metal alloys containing Am wherein compact powder sintering methods had to be abandoned. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop a low-temperature or low-heat fuel fabrication process for the synthesis of Am-containing ceramic fuels. Self-propagating high temperature synthesis (SHS), also called combustion synthesis, offers such an alternative process for the synthesis of Am nitride fuels. Although SHS takes thermodynamic advantage of the high combustion temperatures of these exothermic SHS reactions to synthesize the required compounds, the very fast heating, reaction and cooling rates can kinetically generate extremely fast reaction rates and facilitate the retention of volatile species within the rapidly propagating SHS reaction front. The initial objective of the research program is to use Mn as the surrogate for Am to synthesize a reproducible, dense, high quality Zr-Mn-N ceramic compound. Having determined the fundamental SHS reaction parameters and optimized SHS processing steps using Mn as the surrogate for Am, the technology will be transferred to Idaho National Laboratory to successfully synthesize a high quality Zr-Am-N ceramic fuel.