RESULTS FROM A DEMONSTRATION OF RF-BASED UF6 CYLINDER ACCOUNTING AND TRACKING SYSTEM INSTALLED AT A USEC FACILITY

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Approved industry-standard cylinders are used globally for storing and transporting uranium hexafluoride (UF{sub 6}) at uranium enrichment plants and processing facilities. To verify that no diversion or undeclared production of nuclear material involving UF{sub 6} cylinders at the facility has occurred, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducts periodic, labor-intensive physical inspections to validate facility records, cylinder identities, and cylinder weights. A reliable cylinder monitoring system that would improve overall inspector effectiveness would be a significant improvement to the current international safeguards inspection regime. Such a system could include real-time unattended monitoring of cylinder movements, situation-specific rules-based event detection algorithms, ... continued below

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Pickett, Chris A; Kovacic, Donald N; Morgan, Jim; Younkin, James R; Carrick, Bernie; Ken, Whittle et al. September 1, 2008.

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Approved industry-standard cylinders are used globally for storing and transporting uranium hexafluoride (UF{sub 6}) at uranium enrichment plants and processing facilities. To verify that no diversion or undeclared production of nuclear material involving UF{sub 6} cylinders at the facility has occurred, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducts periodic, labor-intensive physical inspections to validate facility records, cylinder identities, and cylinder weights. A reliable cylinder monitoring system that would improve overall inspector effectiveness would be a significant improvement to the current international safeguards inspection regime. Such a system could include real-time unattended monitoring of cylinder movements, situation-specific rules-based event detection algorithms, and the capability to integrate with other types of safeguards technologies. This type of system could provide timely detection of abnormal operational activities that may be used to ensure more appropriate and efficient responses by the IAEA. A system of this type can reduce the reliance on paper records and have the additional benefit of facilitating domestic safeguards at the facilities at which it is installed. A radio-frequency (RF)-based system designed to track uranium hexafluoride (UF{sub 6}) cylinders during processing operations was designed, assembled, and tested at the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) facility in Portsmouth, Ohio, to determine the operational feasibility and durability of RF technology. The overall objective of the effort was to validate the robustness of RF technology for potential use as a future international safeguards tool for tracking UF6 cylinders at uranium-processing facilities. The results to date indicate that RF tags represent a feasible technique for tracking UF{sub 6} cylinders in operating facilities. Additional work will be needed to improve the operational robustness of the tags for repeated autoclave processing and to add tamper-indicating and data authentication features to some of the pertinent system components. Future efforts will focus on these needs along with implementing protocols relevant to IAEA safeguards. The work detailed in this report demonstrates the feasibility of constructing RF devices that can survive the operational rigors associated with the transportation, storage, and processing of UF6 cylinders. The system software specially designed for this project is called Cylinder Accounting and Tracking System (CATS). This report details the elements of the CATS rules-based architecture and its use in safeguards-monitoring and asset-tracking applications. Information is also provided on improvements needed to make the technology ready, as well as options for improving the safeguards aspects of the technology. The report also includes feedback from personnel involved in the testing, as well as individuals who could utilize an RF-based system in supporting the performance of their work. The system software was set up to support a Mailbox declaration, where a declaration can be made either before or after cylinder movements take place. When the declaration is made before cylinders move, the operators must enter this information into CATS. If the IAEA then shows up unexpectedly at the facility, they can see how closely the operational condition matches the declaration. If the declaration is made after the cylinders move, this provides greater operational flexibility when schedules are interrupted or are changed, by allowing operators to declare what moves have been completed. The IAEA can then compare where cylinders are with where CATS or the system says they are located. The ability of CATS to automatically generate Mailbox declarations is seen by the authors as a desirable feature. The Mailbox approach is accepted by the IAEA but has not been widely implemented (and never in enrichment facilities). During the course of this project, we have incorporated alternative methods for implementation.

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-2008/189
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/951934 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 951934
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc931300

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  • September 1, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 21, 2016, 6:50 p.m.

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Pickett, Chris A; Kovacic, Donald N; Morgan, Jim; Younkin, James R; Carrick, Bernie; Ken, Whittle et al. RESULTS FROM A DEMONSTRATION OF RF-BASED UF6 CYLINDER ACCOUNTING AND TRACKING SYSTEM INSTALLED AT A USEC FACILITY, report, September 1, 2008; [Tennessee]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc931300/: accessed December 11, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.