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Title: Toward a Fieldable Atomic Mass Spectrometer for Safeguards Applications: Sample Preparation and Ionization

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) long-term research and development plan calls for the development of new methods to detect misuse at nuclear fuel cycle facilities such as reprocessing and enrichment plants. At enrichment plants, for example, the IAEA’s contemporary safeguards approaches are based on a combination of routine and random inspections that include collection of UF6 samples from in-process material and selected cylinders for subsequent analyses. These analyses include destructive analysis (DA) in a laboratory (typically by mass spectrometry [MS]) for isotopic characterization, and environmental sampling (ES) for subsequent laboratory elemental and isotopic analysis (also both typically by MS). One area of new method development includes moving this kind of isotope ratio analytical capability for DA and ES activities into the field. Some of the reasons for these developments include timeliness of results, avoidance of hazardous material shipments, and guidance for additional sample collecting. However, this capability does not already exist for several reasons, such as that most lab-based chemical and instrumental methods rely on laboratory infrastructure (highly trained staff, power, space, hazardous material handling, etc.) and require significant amounts of consumables (power, compressed gases, etc.). In addition, there are no currently available, fieldable instruments for atomic or isotopemore » ratio analysis. To address these issues, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and collaborator, Clemson University, are studying key areas that limit the fieldability of isotope ratio mass spectrometry for atomic ions: sample preparation and ionization, and reducing the physical size of a fieldable mass spectrometer. PNNL is seeking simple and robust techniques that could be effectively used by inspectors who may have no expertise in analytical MS. In this report, we present and describe the preliminary findings for three candidate techniques: matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) MS, liquid sampling-atmospheric pressure glow discharge (LS-APGD), and laser ablation/ionization (LAI) MS at atmospheric pressure. Potential performance metrics for these techniques will be presented, including detectability, response, isotope ratio accuracy and precision, and ease of use.« less
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Conference: Symposium on International Safeguards: Linking Strategy, Implementation and People, October 20-24, 2014, Vienna, Austria, IAEA-CN-220:Paper No. S08-08
International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States