SPECT imaging as a tool to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons
2007 (English)In: Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, ISSN 0168-9002, Vol. 580, no 2, 843-847 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
International efforts are taken to avoid the proliferation of material and technologies that may lead to the development of nuclear weapons. These activities are called safeguards and involve inspections of spent nuclear fuel at nuclear power plants and storage facilities. At these inspections, various measuring techniques are employed for verifying the presence and identity of spent nuclear fuel assemblies. However, a fuel assembly contains about 100–300 fuel rods and techniques are also required for verifying that no individual fuel rods have been removed from the assembly. For this purpose, a non-destructive tomographic measurement technique for spent-fuel assemblies is being developed at Uppsala University, based on single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).
The technique utilizes the γ-ray emission from spent fuel. The first step of the methodology is the recording of the γ-ray flux distribution in a large number of positions around the fuel assembly, using γ-ray detectors attached to a collimator system. In the following step, a cross-sectional image of the source distribution in the fuel assembly is reconstructed. Because the fuel rods are highly activated during reactor operation, and because they are stored in water with practically no radioactive content, they appear very clearly in this type of image.
The technique has earlier been used for determining the power distribution in fuel assemblies [S. Jacobsson Svärd, A. Håkansson, et al., Nucl. Technol. 151(1) (2005) 70. ]. The images obtained in those measurements show that the technique also has great potential for safeguards’ application. In the on-going development of the technique specifically for safeguards, image analysis plays an important role. Some crucial points in the analysis are the identification and positioning of the assembly in the image and also the definition of the background activity level. Finally, proper criteria have to be set for confidently stating if a fuel rod would be considered to be missing.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 580, no 2, 843-847 p.
Safeguards, Nuclear fuel, Tomography, SPECT
Research subject Applied Nuclear Physics; Physics with specialization in Applied Nuclear Physics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-14300DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2007.06.033ISI: 000250128000004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-14300DiVA: diva2:42070