Remote Compositional Analysis of Spent-Fuel Residues Using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Page: 3 of 6
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WM'03, February 23-27, 2003, Tucson, AZ
Routine inspections of some steel components in a hot cell had identified an accumulation of a
significant quantity of surface contamination. Characterisation of the contamination was required
prior to decontamination and waste sentencing of the components. Radiometric measurements
were taken to identify the radionuclide inventory of the contamination but as these provided no
information on the non-active components, full characterisation was not possible. The material
was highly radioactive making sample removal and laboratory analysis very difficult
Optical access to the material was possible via a 1-metre thick lead-glass radiation shield
window. The steel component could be positioned approximately 3 metres beyond the window
and raised / lowered by means of a hoist within the hot-cell. The laser beam of the LIBS
instrument could then be transmitted into the hot-cell via the lead-glass shield window and
brought to focus on the contamination, as illustrated schematically in Fig. 2.
r Hot cell
Figure 2. Schematic diagram illustrating the deployment of the telescope LIBS instrument
The optical properties of these shield windows are such that they are reasonably transparent to the
laser radiation (>75% transmission @ 1064 nm) but effectively opaque to wavelengths shorter
than about 500 nm. This limited the wavelength range over which the laser-induced plasma
could be monitored to approximately 500 nm - 800 nm, the long wavelength limit being governed
by the detector of the optical spectrograph. In order to prevent damage to the shield window, the
intensity of the laser beam was maintained well below the damage threshold of the window
components. In practice, this was achieved by ensuring that the diameter of the laser beam
within the shield window is always sufficiently large to maintain laser energy densities at least a
factor of ten below the damage threshold of the glass. An unavoidable consequence of this
requirement is that the material being analysed must be located at some distance (typically >1.5
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Whitehouse, A. I.; Young, J.; Evans, C. P.; Brown, A.; Simpson, A. & Franco, J. Remote Compositional Analysis of Spent-Fuel Residues Using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, article, February 26, 2003; Tucson, Arizona. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc780523/m1/3/: accessed September 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.