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On Cherenkov light production by irradiated nuclear fuel rods
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8207-3462
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5133-6829
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3411-7058
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3136-5665
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2017 (English)In: Journal of Instrumentation, ISSN 1748-0221, E-ISSN 1748-0221, Vol. 12, article id T06001Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Safeguards verification of irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies in wet storage is frequently done by measuring the Cherenkov light in the surrounding water produced due to radioactive decays of fission products in the fuel. This paper accounts for the physical processes behind the Cherenkov light production caused by a single fuel rod in wet storage, and simulations are presented that investigate to what extent various properties of the rod affect the Cherenkov light production. The results show that the fuel properties has a noticeable effect on the Cherenkov light production, and thus that the prediction models for Cherenkov light production which are used in the safeguards verifications could potentially be improved by considering these properties.It is concluded that the dominating source of the Cherenkov light is gamma-ray interactions with electrons in the surrounding water. Electrons created from beta decay may also exit the fuel and produce Cherenkov light, and e.g. Y-90 was identified as a possible contributor to significant levels of the measurable Cherenkov light in long-cooled fuel. The results also show that the cylindrical, elongated fuel rod geometry results in a non-isotropic Cherenkov light production, and the light component parallel to the rod's axis exhibits a dependence on gamma-ray energy that differs from the total intensity, which is of importance since the typical safeguards measurement situation observes the vertical light component. It is also concluded that the radial distributions of the radiation sources in a fuel rod will affect the Cherenkov light production.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 12, article id T06001
Keywords [en]
Nuclear safeguards, Geant4, Cherenkov light, DCVD, Nuclear fuel rod
National Category
Subatomic Physics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Applied Nuclear Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-309736DOI: 10.1088/1748-0221/12/06/T06001ISI: 000405090900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-309736DiVA, id: diva2:1052807
Funder
Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM2012-2750Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC), p2007011Available from: 2016-12-07 Created: 2016-12-07 Last updated: 2018-08-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Studies of Cherenkov light production in irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Studies of Cherenkov light production in irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Digital Cherenkov Viewing Device (DCVD) is an instrument used by authority inspectors to assess irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies in wet storage for the purpose of nuclear safeguards. Originally developed to verify the presence of fuel assemblies with long cooling times and low burnup, the DCVD accuracy is sufficient for partial defect verification, where one verifies that part of an assembly has not been diverted. Much of the recent research regarding the DCVD has been focused on improving its partial defect detection capabilities.

The partial-defect analysis procedure currently used relies on comparisons between a predicted Cherenkov light intensity and the intensity measured with the DCVD. Enhanced prediction capabilities may thus lead to enhanced verification capabilities. Since the currently used prediction model is based on rudimentary correlations between the Cherenkov light intensity and the burnup and cooling time of the fuel assembly, there are reasons to develop alternative models taking more details into account to more accurately predict the Cherenkov light intensity.

This work aims at increasing our understanding of the physical processes leading to the Cherenkov light production in irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies in water. This has been investigated through simulations, which in the future are planned to be complemented with measurements.

The simulations performed reveal that the Cherenkov light production depends on fuel rod dimensions, source distribution in the rod and initial decay energy in a complex way, and that all these factors should be modelled to accurately predict the light intensity. The simulations also reveal that for long-cooled fuel, Y-90 beta-decays may contribute noticeably to the Cherenkov light intensity, a contribution which has not been considered before.

A prediction model has been developed in this work taking fuel irradiation history, fuel geometry and Y-90 beta-decay into account. These predictions are more detailed than the predictions based on the currently used prediction model. The predictions with the new model can be done quickly enough that the method can be used in the field. The new model has been used during one verification campaign, and showed superior performance to the currently used prediction model. Using the currently used model for this verification, the difference between measured and predicted intensity had a standard deviation of 15.4% of the measured value, and using the new model this was reduced to 8.4%.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala universitet, 2016. p. 36
Keywords
DCVD, Cherenkov light, Geant4, Nuclear fuel, Nuclear safeguards
National Category
Subatomic Physics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Applied Nuclear Physics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-307952 (URN)
Presentation
2016-12-15, 2002, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM2012-2750Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC), p2007011
Available from: 2016-12-08 Created: 2016-11-23 Last updated: 2016-12-22Bibliographically approved
2. Enhancing the performance of the Digital Cherenkov Viewing Device: Detecting partial defects in irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies using Cherenkov light
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enhancing the performance of the Digital Cherenkov Viewing Device: Detecting partial defects in irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies using Cherenkov light
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Digital Cherenkov Viewing Device (DCVD) is an instrument used by authority safeguards inspectors to verify irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies in wet storage based on Cherenkov light emission. It is frequently used to verify that parts of an assembly have not been diverted, which is done by comparing the measured Cherenkov light intensity to a predicted one.

This thesis presents work done to further enhance the verification capability of the DCVD, and has focused on developing a second-generation prediction model (2GM), used to predict the Cherenkov light intensity of an assembly. The 2GM was developed to take into account the irradiation history, assembly type and beta decays, while still being usable to an inspector in-field. The 2GM also introduces a method to correct for the Cherenkov light intensity emanating from neighbouring assemblies. Additionally, a method to simulate DCVD images has been seamlessly incorporated into the 2GM.

The capabilities of the 2GM has been demonstrated on experimental data. In one verification campaign on fuel assemblies with short cooling time, the first-generation model showed a Root Mean Square error of 15.2% when comparing predictions and measurements. This was reduced by the 2GM to 7.8% and 8.1%, for predictions with and without near-neighbour corrections. A simplified version of the 2GM for single assemblies will be included in the next version of the official DCVD software, which will be available to inspectors shortly. The inclusion of the 2GM allows the DCVD to be used to verify short-cooled assemblies and assemblies with unusual irradiation history, with increased accuracy.

Experimental measurements show that there are situations when the intensity contribution due to neighbours is significant, and should be included in the intensity predictions. The image simulation method has been demonstrated to also allow the effect of structural differences in the assemblies to be considered in the predictions, allowing assemblies of different designs to be compared with enhanced accuracy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2018. p. 97
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1708
Keywords
DCVD, Nuclear safeguards, Cherenkov light, Nuclear fuel assembly, Partial defect verification
National Category
Subatomic Physics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Applied Nuclear Physics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-357578 (URN)978-91-513-0415-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-10-12, Room 2005, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM2012-2750Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC), p2007011
Available from: 2018-09-14 Created: 2018-08-17 Last updated: 2018-09-14

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Branger, ErikGrape, SophieJacobsson, StaffanJansson, PeterAndersson Sundén, Erik

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