Proof-of-Principle Measurements on Unirradiated Zirconium Alloys

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The ability to determine fuel assembly burnup has important non-proliferation implications since proliferation activities involve either irradiating fuel assemblies to a much lower level of burnup than is normal in commercial Light Water Reactor (LWR) practice, and/or irradiation of separate targets. Similarly, a method of determining burnup could be used to confirm declared operation for a reactor that is operating under IAEA safeguards. It is possible to determine fuel assembly burnup by measuring gamma radiation from specific fission products; however this technique is only useable after the fuel assembly has been out of the reactor for at least a year, ... continued below

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Gerlach, David C.; Mitchell, Mark R.; Reid, Bruce D.; Gesh, Christopher J. & Hurley, David E. April 18, 2007.

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The ability to determine fuel assembly burnup has important non-proliferation implications since proliferation activities involve either irradiating fuel assemblies to a much lower level of burnup than is normal in commercial Light Water Reactor (LWR) practice, and/or irradiation of separate targets. Similarly, a method of determining burnup could be used to confirm declared operation for a reactor that is operating under IAEA safeguards. It is possible to determine fuel assembly burnup by measuring gamma radiation from specific fission products; however this technique is only useable after the fuel assembly has been out of the reactor for at least a year, and is not very useful after the assembly has been out of the reactor for 10 years or more. The use of isotope ratio measurements to measure the level of neutron exposure that material has received is well-known for graphite applications. The current project is an attempt to demonstrate that isotope ratio measurements can be performed on zirconium alloys used in LWR fuel assemblies. Zirconium alloys are used for structural elements of fuel assemblies and for the fuel element cladding. This report covers proof-of-principle measurements done on unirradiated zirconium alloys, these measurements show that: Titanium 48/Titanium 49 ratios can be measured in zirconium alloys using a Secondary Ionization Mass Spectrometer (SIMS) - enough Titanium was present in each of 6 samples tried to allow resolving the peaks associated with each isotope, and correction of interfering ions. The Ti 48/49 ratio measured in unirradiated zirconium alloy is, within a narrow error band, the same as that found in natural, unirradiated zirconium.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-16539
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/1035749 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1035749
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc840564

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  • April 18, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Dec. 6, 2016, 4:51 p.m.

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Gerlach, David C.; Mitchell, Mark R.; Reid, Bruce D.; Gesh, Christopher J. & Hurley, David E. Proof-of-Principle Measurements on Unirradiated Zirconium Alloys, report, April 18, 2007; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc840564/: accessed August 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.