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A nondestructive method for discriminating MOX fuel from LEU fuel for safeguards purposes
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Nuclear and Particle Physics. (Tillämpad kärnfysik)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Nuclear and Particle Physics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics. (Forskargruppen för Kärnbränslediagnostik och safeguards)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Nuclear and Particle Physics. (Forskargruppen för Kärnbränslediagnostik och safeguards)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Nuclear and Particle Physics. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics. (Forskargruppen för Kärnbränslediagnostik och safeguards)
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2006 (English)In: Annals of Nuclear Energy, ISSN 0306-4549, E-ISSN 1873-2100, Vol. 33, no 9, 766-773 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Plutonium-rich mixed oxide fuel (MOX) is increasingly used in thermal reactors. However, spent MOX fuel could be a potential source of nuclear weapons material and a safeguards issue is therefore to determine whether a spent nuclear fuel assembly is of MOX type or of LEU (Low Enriched Uranium) type.

In this paper, we present theoretical and experimental results of a study that aims to investigate the possibilities of using gamma-ray spectroscopy to determine whether a nuclear fuel assembly is of MOX or of LEU type.

Simulations with the computer code ORIGEN-ARP have been performed where LEU and MOX fuel types with varying enrichment and burnup as well as different irradiation histories have been modelled. The simulations indicate that the fuel type determination may be achieved by using the intensity ratio Cs-134/Eu-154.

An experimental study of MOX fuel of 14 x 14 PWR type and LEU fuel of both 15 x 15 and 17 x 17 type is also reported in this paper. The outcome of the experimental study support the conclusion that MOX fuel may be discriminated from LEU fuel by measuring the suggested isotopic ratio.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 33, no 9, 766-773 p.
National Category
Physical Sciences
Research subject
Applied Nuclear Physics; Physics with specialization in Applied Nuclear Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-94789DOI: 10.1016/j.anucene.2006.04.006ISI: 000239532900003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-94789DiVA: diva2:168771
Available from: 2006-09-08 Created: 2006-09-08 Last updated: 2017-12-14
In thesis
1. Applications of Gamma Ray Spectroscopy of Spent Nuclear Fuel for Safeguards and Encapsulation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Applications of Gamma Ray Spectroscopy of Spent Nuclear Fuel for Safeguards and Encapsulation
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Nuclear energy is currently one of the world’s main sources of electricity. Closely connected to the use of nuclear energy are important issues such as the nonproliferation of fissile material that may potentially used in nuclear weapons (safeguards), and the management of the highly radioactive nuclear waste. This thesis addresses both these issues by contributing to the development of new experimental methods for ensuring safe and secure handling of the waste, with focus on methods to be used prior to encapsulation and final storage.

The methods rely on high resolution gamma ray spectroscopy (HRGS), involving the measurement and analysis of emitted gamma radiation from the fission products 137Cs, 134Cs and 154Eu. This technique is nondestructive, making it relatively nonintrusive with respect to the normal operation of the nuclear facilities.

For the safeguards issue, it is important to experimentally verify the presence and identity of nuclear fuel assemblies and also that the fuel has experienced normal, civilian reactor operation. It has been shown in this thesis that the HRGS method may be used for verifying operator declared fuel parameters such as burnup, cooling time and irradiation history. In the experimental part of the work, the burnup and the cooling time has been determined with an accuracy of 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively (1 σ).

A technique has also been demonstrated, utilizing the ratio 134Cs/154Eu, with which it is possible to determine whether a fuel assembly is of MOX or LEU type. This is of interest for safeguards as well as for the safe operation of a final storage facility.

As an improvement to the HRGS technique, measuring a part of the fuel assembly length in order to reduce measurement time has been suggested and investigated. A theoretical case for partial defect verification has also been studied as an extension of the HRGS technique.

Finally, HRGS has been used for determining the decay heat in spent nuclear fuel assemblies, which is of importance for the safe operation of a final storage facility. This application is based on the radiation from 137Cs, and the accuracy demonstrated was within 3% (1 σ).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2006. 81 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 212
Keyword
Nuclear physics, gamma radiation, spectroscopy, spent nuclear fuel, safeguards, HRGS, MOX, Kärnfysik
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7116 (URN)91-554-6637-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-09-29, Polhemsalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Uppsala, 09:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-09-08 Created: 2006-09-08Bibliographically approved

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Willman, ChristoferHåkansson, AneOsifo, OtasowieBäcklin, AndersJacobsson Svärd, Staffan

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