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Gamma Spectroscopy and Gamma Emission Tomography for Fuel Performance Characterization of Irradiated Nuclear Fuel Assemblies
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Gamma spectroscopy and gamma emission tomography are two non-destructive measurement techniques for assessing the performance of nuclear fuel which have been investigated in this thesis for existing and novel applications through theoretical studies and experimental demonstrations. For assessment of individual fuel rods using gamma spectroscopy, fuel assemblies are dismantled so that the fuel rods may be measured separately, which is time-consuming and may cause damage to the fuel. Gamma tomography is more seldom used, but its application on complete fuel assemblies would enable the assessment of individual fuel rods without the need to disassemble the fuel. Both techniques are based on recording gamma rays, emitted at characteristic energies from decaying radioactive products in the fuel.

The feasibility of measuring short-lived fission gasses in the gas plenum of fuel rods with short cooling time was experimentally investigated. Based on the feasibility demonstration, a method was proposed and experimentally demonstrated for determining the fission gas release fraction of 133Xe in fuel rods with short cooling time. Additionally, a method for investigating the origin of released fission gasses based on the measured ratio of 133Xe/85Kr in the fuel rod gas plenum was demonstrated. These methods may be employed at research reactors, where fuel with short cooling time is available for measurement.

A gamma emission tomography instrument has been designed, constructed and experimentally demonstrated on a Halden Reactor fuel assembly. Simulation studies showed that the instrument and the tomographic reconstruction methods employed may be useful for: identifying a leaking fuel rod in an assembly by its lack of fission gas content; reconstruction of the rod-wise fission product distributions in the fuel stack and plenum regions of the assembly; and determining the rod-wise fission gas release fractions.

In the experimental demonstration, the rod-wise distributions of the fission products 137Cs and 85Kr in the fuel stack and plenum regions of the assembly were reconstructed, as well as the distributions of the activation products 60Co and 178mHf in the plenum region, revealing the plenum springs and tie rods, respectively. The reconstructed data was in the form of images, useful for qualitative assessment of the fuel.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. , 94 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1201
Keyword [en]
Nuclear fuel performance, Nuclear fuel assemblies, Gamma emission tomography, Gamma spectroscopy
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-235124ISBN: 978-91-554-9099-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-235124DiVA: diva2:759071
Public defence
2014-12-16, Häggsalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-11-25 Created: 2014-10-29 Last updated: 2015-02-03
List of papers
1. Feasibility of performing Pool-Side Fission Gas Release Measurements on Fuel Rods with Short Decay Time
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Feasibility of performing Pool-Side Fission Gas Release Measurements on Fuel Rods with Short Decay Time
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2011 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Applied Nuclear Physics; Physics with specialization in Applied Nuclear Physics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-169391 (URN)
Conference
2011 Water Reactor Fuel Performance Meeting (TopFuel)
Available from: 2012-02-28 Created: 2012-02-28 Last updated: 2015-01-19
2. Feasibility of identifying leaking fuel rods using gamma tomography
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Feasibility of identifying leaking fuel rods using gamma tomography
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2013 (English)In: Annals of Nuclear Energy, ISSN 0306-4549, E-ISSN 1873-2100, Vol. 57, 334-340 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In cases of fuel failure in irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies, causing leakage of fission gasses from a fuel rod, there is a need for reliable non-destructive measurement methods that can determine which rod is failed. Methods currently in use include visual inspection, eddy current, and ultrasonic testing, but additional alternatives have been under consideration, including tomographic gamma measurements.

The simulations covered in this report show that tomographic measurements could be feasible. By measuring a characteristic gamma energy from fission gasses in the gas plenum, the rod-by-rod gamma source distribution within the fuel rod plena may be reconstructed into an image or data set which could then be compared to the predicted distribution of fission gasses, e.g. from the STAV code. Rods with significantly less fission gas in the plenum may then be identified as leakers.

Results for rods with low fission gas release may, however, in some cases be inconclusive since these rods will already have a weak contribution to the measured gamma-ray intensities and for such rods there is a risk that a further decrease in fission gas content due to a leak may not be detectable. In order to evaluate this and similar experimental issues, measurement campaigns are planned using a tomographic measurement system at the Halden Boiling Water Reactor.

National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-197321 (URN)10.1016/j.anucene.2013.02.020 (DOI)000319643000040 ()
Available from: 2013-03-22 Created: 2013-03-22 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. A Nondestructive Method for Investigating the Origin of Released Fission Gasses in Nuclear Fuel Rods
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Nondestructive Method for Investigating the Origin of Released Fission Gasses in Nuclear Fuel Rods
2013 (English)In: Proceedings of Topfuel 2013, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.A., 2013Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-217888 (URN)
Conference
LWR Fuel Performance Meeting, TopFuel 2013
Available from: 2014-02-05 Created: 2014-02-05 Last updated: 2015-01-19
4. Method For Analyzing Fission Gas Release In Fuel Rods Based On Gamma-Ray Measurements Of Short-Lived Fission Products
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Method For Analyzing Fission Gas Release In Fuel Rods Based On Gamma-Ray Measurements Of Short-Lived Fission Products
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2013 (English)In: Nuclear Technology, ISSN 0029-5450, E-ISSN 1943-7471, Vol. 184, no 1, 96-106 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Fission gases are produced as a result of fission reactions in nuclear fuel. Most of these gases remain trapped within the fuel pellets, but some may be released to the fuel rod internal gas volume under certain conditions. This phenomenon of fission gas release is important for fuel performance since the released gases can degrade the thennal properties of the fuel rod. fill gas and contribute to increasing fuel rod internal pressure. Various destructive and nondestructive methods are available for determining the amount of fission gas release; however, the current methods are primarily useful for determining the integrated fission gas release fraction, i.e., the amount of fission gas produced in the fuel that has been released to the free rod volume over the entire lifetime of a nuclear fuel rod. In this work, a method is proposed for determining the fission gas release that occurs during short irradia-tion sequences. The proposed method is based on spectroscopic measurements of gamma rays emitted in the decay of short-lived fission gas isotopes. Determining such sequence-specific fission gas release can be of interest when evaluating the fuel behavior for selected times during irradiation, such as during power ramps. The data obtained in this type of measurement may also be useful for investigating the mechanisms behind fission gas release for fuel at high burnup. The method is demonstrated based on the analysis of experimental gamma-ray spectra previously collected using equipment not dedicated for this purpose; however, the analysis indicates the feasibility of the method. Further evaluation of the method is planned, using dedicated equipment at the Halden Boiling Water Reactor.

Keyword
fission gas release, gamma spectroscopy, nuclear fuel
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-187790 (URN)000325236100007 ()
Available from: 2012-12-10 Created: 2012-12-10 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
5. Characterization of Nuclear Fuel Rods Operated at High Linear Heat Rates Using Nondestructive Gamma-ray Spectroscopy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Characterization of Nuclear Fuel Rods Operated at High Linear Heat Rates Using Nondestructive Gamma-ray Spectroscopy
2014 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-233501 (URN)
Conference
2014 Water Reactor Fuel Performance Meeting / TopFuel / LWR Fuel Performance Meeting
Available from: 2014-10-06 Created: 2014-10-06 Last updated: 2015-01-19
6. Gamma Emission Tomography for Determining Pin-wise Percent Fission Gas Release in Fuel Assemblies at the Halden Boiling Water Reactor
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gamma Emission Tomography for Determining Pin-wise Percent Fission Gas Release in Fuel Assemblies at the Halden Boiling Water Reactor
2014 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-233508 (URN)
Conference
2014 Water Reactor Performance Meeting / TopFuel / LWR Fuel Performance Meeting
Available from: 2014-10-06 Created: 2014-10-06 Last updated: 2015-01-19
7. Tomographic Reconstruction Algorithms for SPECT on Irradiated Nuclear Fuel Assemblies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tomographic Reconstruction Algorithms for SPECT on Irradiated Nuclear Fuel Assemblies
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-235122 (URN)
Available from: 2014-10-29 Created: 2014-10-29 Last updated: 2015-01-19
8. A Gamma Emission Tomography Instrument for Characterizing Fuel Assemblies at the Halden Boiling Water Reactor
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Gamma Emission Tomography Instrument for Characterizing Fuel Assemblies at the Halden Boiling Water Reactor
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Other Physics Topics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-235123 (URN)
Available from: 2014-10-29 Created: 2014-10-29 Last updated: 2015-01-19

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