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ELECTRONICS UPGRADE TO THE SAVANNAH RIVER NATIONAL LABORATORY COULOMETER FOR PLUTONIUM AND NEPTUNIUM ASSAY

Description: The Savannah River Site (SRS) has the analytical measurement capability to perform high-precision plutonium concentration measurements by controlled-potential coulometry. State-of-the-art controlled-potential coulometers were designed and fabricated by the Savannah River National Laboratory and installed in the Analytical Laboratories process control laboratory. The Analytical Laboratories uses coulometry for routine accountability measurements of and for verification of standard preparations used to calibrate other plutonium measurement systems routinely applied to process control, nuclear safety, and other accountability applications. The SRNL Coulometer has a demonstrated measurement reliability of {approx}0.05% for 10 mg samples. The system has also been applied to the characterization of neptunium standard solutions with a comparable reliability. The SRNL coulometer features: a patented current integration system; continuous electrical calibration versus Faraday's Constants and Ohm's Law; the control-potential adjustment technique for enhanced application of the Nernst Equation; a wide operating room temperature range; and a fully automated instrument control and data acquisition capability. Systems have been supplied to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Russia, Japanese Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and the New Brunswick Laboratory (NBL). The most recent vintage of electronics was based on early 1990's integrated circuits. Many of the components are no longer available. At the request of the IAEA and the Department of State, SRNL has completed an electronics upgrade of their controlled-potential coulometer design. Three systems have built with the new design, one for the IAEA which was installed at SAL in May 2011, one system for Los Alamos National Laboratory, (LANL) and one for the SRS Analytical Laboratory. The LANL and SRS systems are undergoing startup testing with installation scheduled for this summer.
Date: July 8, 2011
Creator: Cordaro, J.; Holland, M.; Reeves, G.; Nichols, S. & Kruzner, A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department