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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Determining Plutonium Mass in Spent Fuel with Nondestructive Assay Techniques -- Preliminary Modeling Results Emphasizing Integration among Techniques


There are a variety of motivations for quantifying Pu in spent (used) fuel assemblies by means of nondestructive assay (NDA) including the following: strengthen the capabilities of the International Atomic Energy Agencies to safeguards nuclear facilities, quantifying shipper/receiver difference, determining the input accountability value at reprocessing facilities and providing quantitative input to burnup credit determination for repositories. For the purpose of determining the Pu mass in spent fuel assemblies, twelve NDA techniques were identified that provide information about the composition of an assembly. A key point motivating the present research path is the realization that none of these techniques, in isolation, is capable of both (1) quantifying the elemental Pu mass of an assembly and (2) detecting the diversion of a significant number of pins. As such, the focus of this work is determining how to best integrate 2 or 3 techniques into a system that can quantify elemental Pu and to assess how well this system can detect material diversion. Furthermore, it is important economically to down-select among the various techniques before advancing to the experimental phase. In order to achieve this dual goal of integration and down-selection, a Monte Carlo library of PWR assemblies was created and is described in another paper at Global 2009 (Fensin et al.). The research presented here emphasizes integration among techniques. An overview of a five year research plan starting in 2009 is given. Preliminary modeling results for the Monte Carlo assembly library are presented for 3 NDA techniques: Delayed Neutrons, Differential Die-Away, and Nuclear Resonance Fluorescence. As part of the focus on integration, the concept of "Pu isotopic correlation" is discussed and the role of cooling time determination.

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