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Nuclear Resonance Fluorescence for Safeguards Applications

Description: In nuclear resonance fluorescence (NRF) measurements, resonances are excited by an external photon beam leading to the emission of {gamma} rays with specific energies that are characteristic of the emitting isotope. The promise of NRF as a non-destructive analysis technique (NDA) in safeguards applications lies in its potential to directly quantify a specific isotope in an assay target without the need for unfolding the combined responses of several fissile isotopes as often required by other NDA methods. The use of NRF for detection of sensitive nuclear materials and other contraband has been researched in the past. In the safeguards applications considered here one has to go beyond mere detection and precisely quantify the isotopic content, a challenge that is discussed throughout this report. Basic NRF measurement methods, instrumentation, and the analytical calculation of NRF signal strengths are described in Section 2. Well understood modeling and simulation tools are needed for assessing the potential of NRF for safeguards and for designing measurement systems. All our simulations were performed with the radiation transport code MCNPX, a code that is widely used in the safeguards community. Our initial studies showed that MCNPX grossly underestimated the elastically scattered background at backwards angles due to an incorrect treatment of Rayleigh scattering. While new, corrected calculations based on ENDF form factors showed much better agreement with experimental data for the elastic scattering of photons on an uranium target, the elastic backscatter is still not rigorously treated. Photonuclear scattering processes (nuclear Thomson, Delbruck and Giant Dipole Resonance scattering), which are expected to play an important role at higher energies, are not yet included. These missing elastic scattering contributions were studied and their importance evaluated evaluated against data found in the literature as discussed in Section 3. A transmission experiment was performed in September 2009 to test and ...
Date: February 4, 2011
Creator: Ludewigt, Bernhard A; Quiter, Brian J & Ambers, Scott D
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nuclear Resonance Fluorescence to Measure Plutonium Mass in Spent Nuclear Fuel

Description: The Next Generation Safeguard Initiative (NGSI) of the U.S Department of Energy is supporting a multi-lab/university collaboration to quantify the plutonium (Pu) mass in spent nuclear fuel (SNF) assemblies and to detect the diversion of pins with non-destructive assay (NDA) methods. The following 14 NDA techniques are being studied: Delayed Neutrons, Differential Die-Away, Differential Die-Away Self-Interrogation, Lead Slowing Down Spectrometer, Neutron Multiplicity, Passive Neutron Albedo Reactivity, Total Neutron (Gross Neutron), X-Ray Fluorescence, {sup 252}Cf Interrogation with Prompt Neutron Detection, Delayed Gamma, Nuclear Resonance Fluorescence, Passive Prompt Gamma, Self-integration Neutron Resonance Densitometry, and Neutron Resonance Transmission Analysis. Understanding and maturity of the techniques vary greatly, ranging from decades old, well-understood methods to new approaches. Nuclear Resonance Fluorescence (NRF) is a technique that had not previously been studied for SNF assay or similar applications. Since NRF generates isotope-specific signals, the promise and appeal of the technique lies in its potential to directly measure the amount of a specific isotope in an SNF assay target. The objectives of this study were to design and model suitable NRF measurement methods, to quantify capabilities and corresponding instrumentation requirements, and to evaluate prospects and the potential of NRF for SNF assay. The main challenge of the technique is to achieve the sensitivity and precision, i.e., to accumulate sufficient counting statistics, required for quantifying the mass of Pu isotopes in SNF assemblies. Systematic errors, considered a lesser problem for a direct measurement and only briefly discussed in this report, need to be evaluated for specific instrument designs in the future. Also, since the technical capability of using NRF to measure Pu in SNF has not been established, this report does not directly address issues such as cost, size, development time, nor concerns related to the use of Pu in measurement systems. This report discusses basic NRF measurement ...
Date: January 14, 2011
Creator: Ludewigt, Bernhard A; Quiter, Brian J. & Ambers, Scott D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nuclear Resonance Fluorescence for Materials Assay

Description: This paper discusses the use of nuclear resonance fluorescence (NRF) techniques for the isotopic and quantitative assaying of radioactive material. Potential applications include age-dating of an unknown radioactive source, pre- and post-detonation nuclear forensics, and safeguards for nuclear fuel cycles Examples of age-dating a strong radioactive source and assaying a spent fuel pin are discussed. The modeling work has ben performed with the Monte Carlo radiation transport computer code MCNPX, and the capability to simulate NRF has bee added to the code. Discussed are the limitations in MCNPX?s photon transport physics for accurately describing photon scattering processes that are important contributions to the background and impact the applicability of the NRF assay technique.
Date: June 29, 2009
Creator: Quiter, Brian J.; Ludewigt, Bernhard; Mozin, Vladimir & Prussin, Stanley
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Transmission Nuclear Resonance Fluorescence Measurements of 238U in Thick Targets

Description: Transmission nuclear resonance fluorescence measurements were made on targets consisting of Pb and depleted U with total areal densities near 86 g/cm2. The 238U content n the targets varied from 0 to 8.5percent (atom fraction). The experiment demonstrates the capability of using transmission measurements as a non-destructive technique to identify and quantify the presence of an isotope in samples with thicknesses comparable to he average thickness of a nuclear fuel assembly. The experimental data also appear to demonstrate the process of notch refilling with a predictable intensity. Comparison of measured spectra to previous backscatter 238U measurements indicates general agreement in observed excited states. Two new 238U excited states and possibly a third state have also been observed.
Date: August 31, 2010
Creator: Quiter, Brian J.; Ludewigt, Bernhard A.; Mozin, Vladimir V.; Wilson, Cody & Korbly, Steve
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Measurement of cross sections for the 63Cu(alpha,gamma)67Ga reaction from 5.9-8.7 MeV

Description: We have measured cross sections for the 63Cu(alpha,gamma)67Ga reaction in the 5.9-8.7 MeV energy range using an activation technique. Natural Cu foils were bombarded with alpha beams from the 88 Cyclotron at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Activated foils were counted using gamma spectrometry system at LBNL's Low Background Facility. The 63Cu(alpha,gamma)67Ga cross-sections were determined and compared with the latest NON-SMOKER theoretical values. Experimental cross sections were found to be in agreement with theoretical values.
Date: September 23, 2004
Creator: Basunia, M. Shamsuzzoha; Norman, Eric B.; Shugart, Howard A.; Smith, Alan R.; Dolinski, Michelle J. & Quiter, Brian J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department