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Spark plasma sintering (SPS) is a rapidly developing method for densification of powders into compacts. It belongs to the so-called “field assisted sintering techniques” that enable rapid sintering at much lower temperatures than the classical approaches of pressureless sintering of green pellets or hot isostatic pressing. In this paper, we report the successful integration of a SPS device into a hermetic glovebox for the handling of highly radioactive material containing radioisotopes of U, Th, Pu, Np, and Am. The glovebox implantation has been facilitated by the replacement of the hydraulic system to apply pressure with a compact electromechanical unit. The facility has been successfully tested using UO powder. Pellets with 97% of the theoretical density were obtained at 1000 °C for 5 min, significantly lower than the ∼1600 °C for 5-10 h used in conventional pellet sintering.


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