2017 | AFC ACCOMPLISHMENTS 74 experiment reaching a maximum of 5700 wppm O, likely from the smaller particle size distribution. U3Si2 rapidly adsorbed oxygen ~4000 wppm O when exposed to air and gained similar quantities albeit over a slower rate in the glove box atmosphere. Research on the high binder additions initially focused on characterization of a suite of polymeric materials in a simultaneous thermal analyzer (STA) to determine the respective melt points and decompositions of each compound.The commercial polymers were selected to have minimal oxygen content to prevent the detrimental oxide contamination during the debinding stages. Binders were then down-selected and incorporated into UO2 feedstock at 30 vol% loading using a variety of methods to improve the distribution of polymeric materials in the UO2 matrix.Through the aid of TGA, a thermal debinding schedule was developed by controlling the mass loss rate on the high binder loaded pellets yielding pellets in the ~91% dense range.The semi-optimized debinding and sintering cycle was ~62 hours in length.When thermal debinding was not controlled, large voids/cracks formed and pellet densi- ties were in the ~84-86% range. High binder loaded U3Si2 green pellets were prepared in a glove box and either exposed to air or sintered in the as fabricated state. Debinding was performed using the same profile developed using theTGA.The results for the glove box prepared specimen yielded a 91% dense pellet, while the green pellet exposed to air for one hour resulted in an 89% dense pellet. If the binder is not included, U3Si2 pellets exposed to air typically are in the 80% theoretical density range.This initial result highlights the potential of this approach to facilitate air handling of U3Si2 powders without sacrificing final density. Finally, the effect of sintering under vacuum and hydrogen, without high binder additions, on thermal transport properties was characterized against the standard reference sintering approach.Vacuum sintering runs have been used within the campaign as an alternative to sintering in a tungsten metal furnace. Hydrogen-containing atmospheres are a traditional means of mitigating deleterious effects of oxygen on sintering. However, preliminary efforts in the synthesis This work highlights ongoing efforts to mitigate oxidation of high uranium density fuel powders, which should relax the air handling constraints of these fuels in a commercial environment.