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Title: Detection of illicit HEU production in gaseous centrifuge enrichment plants using neutron counting techniques on product cylinders

Abstract

Innovative and novel safeguards approaches are needed for nuclear energy to meet global energy needs without the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation. Part of these efforts will include creating verification techniques that can monitor uranium enrichment facilities for illicit production of highly-enriched uranium (HEU). Passive nondestructive assay (NDA) techniques will be critical in preventing illicit HEU production because NDA offers the possibility of continuous and unattended monitoring capabilities with limited impact on facility operations. Gaseous centrifuge enrichment plants (GCEP) are commonly used to produce low-enriched uranium (LEU) for reactor fuel. In a GCEP, gaseous UF{sub 6} spins at high velocities in centrifuges to separate the molecules containing {sup 238}U from those containing the lighter {sup 235}U. Unfortunately, the process for creating LEU is inherently the same as HEU, creating a proliferation concern. Insuring that GCEPs are producing declared enrichments poses many difficult challenges. In a GCEP, large cascade halls operating thousands of centrifuges work together to enrich the uranium which makes effective monitoring of the cascade hall economically prohibitive and invasive to plant operations. However, the enriched uranium exiting the cascade hall fills product cylinders where the UF{sub 6} gas sublimes and condenses for easier storage and transportation. These productmore » cylinders hold large quantities of enriched uranium, offering a strong signal for NDA measurement. Neutrons have a large penetrability through materials making their use advantageous compared to gamma techniques where the signal is easily attenuated. One proposed technique for detecting HEU production in a GCEP is using neutron coincidence counting at the product cylinder take off stations. This paper discusses findings from Monte Carlo N-Particle eXtended (MCNPX) code simulations that examine the feasibility of such a detector.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1022060
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-10-04454; LA-UR-10-4454
TRN: US1104119
DOE Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: INMM 51st Conference ; July 11, 2010 ; Baltimore, MD
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11; 46; 98; CENTRIFUGE ENRICHMENT PLANTS; CENTRIFUGES; COUNTING TECHNIQUES; DETECTION; ENRICHED URANIUM; ISOTOPE SEPARATION; MONITORING; MONITORS; NEUTRONS; NUCLEAR ENERGY; NUCLEAR FUELS; PRODUCTION; PROLIFERATION; SAFEGUARDS; STORAGE; URANIUM; VERIFICATION

Citation Formats

Freeman, Corey R, and Geist, William H. Detection of illicit HEU production in gaseous centrifuge enrichment plants using neutron counting techniques on product cylinders. United States: N. p., 2010. Web.
Freeman, Corey R, & Geist, William H. Detection of illicit HEU production in gaseous centrifuge enrichment plants using neutron counting techniques on product cylinders. United States.
Freeman, Corey R, and Geist, William H. Fri . "Detection of illicit HEU production in gaseous centrifuge enrichment plants using neutron counting techniques on product cylinders". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1022060.
@article{osti_1022060,
title = {Detection of illicit HEU production in gaseous centrifuge enrichment plants using neutron counting techniques on product cylinders},
author = {Freeman, Corey R and Geist, William H},
abstractNote = {Innovative and novel safeguards approaches are needed for nuclear energy to meet global energy needs without the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation. Part of these efforts will include creating verification techniques that can monitor uranium enrichment facilities for illicit production of highly-enriched uranium (HEU). Passive nondestructive assay (NDA) techniques will be critical in preventing illicit HEU production because NDA offers the possibility of continuous and unattended monitoring capabilities with limited impact on facility operations. Gaseous centrifuge enrichment plants (GCEP) are commonly used to produce low-enriched uranium (LEU) for reactor fuel. In a GCEP, gaseous UF{sub 6} spins at high velocities in centrifuges to separate the molecules containing {sup 238}U from those containing the lighter {sup 235}U. Unfortunately, the process for creating LEU is inherently the same as HEU, creating a proliferation concern. Insuring that GCEPs are producing declared enrichments poses many difficult challenges. In a GCEP, large cascade halls operating thousands of centrifuges work together to enrich the uranium which makes effective monitoring of the cascade hall economically prohibitive and invasive to plant operations. However, the enriched uranium exiting the cascade hall fills product cylinders where the UF{sub 6} gas sublimes and condenses for easier storage and transportation. These product cylinders hold large quantities of enriched uranium, offering a strong signal for NDA measurement. Neutrons have a large penetrability through materials making their use advantageous compared to gamma techniques where the signal is easily attenuated. One proposed technique for detecting HEU production in a GCEP is using neutron coincidence counting at the product cylinder take off stations. This paper discusses findings from Monte Carlo N-Particle eXtended (MCNPX) code simulations that examine the feasibility of such a detector.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2010},
month = {1}
}

Conference:
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