Zirconium metal coatings applied by plasma spraying and electrospark deposition (ESD) have been investigated for use as diffusion barrier coatings on low enrichment uranium fuel for research nuclear reactors. The coatings have been applied to both stainless steel as a surrogate and to simulated nuclear fuel uranium-molybdenum alloy substrates. Deposition parameter development accompanied by coating characterization has been performed. The structure of the plasma sprayed coating was shown to vary with transferred arc current during deposition. The structure of ESD coatings was shown to vary with the capacitance of the deposition equipment.