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Title: Safeguards Verification Measurements using Laser Ablation, Absorbance Ratio Spectrometry in Gaseous Centrifuge Enrichment Plants

Abstract

Laser Ablation Absorbance Ratio Spectrometry (LAARS) is a new verification measurement technology under development at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). LAARS uses three lasers to ablate and then measure the relative isotopic abundance of uranium compounds. An ablation laser is tightly focused on uranium-bearing solids producing a small plume containing uranium atoms. Two collinear wavelength-tuned spectrometry lasers transit through the plume and the absorbance of U-235 and U-238 isotopes are measured to determine U-235 enrichment. The measurement has high relative precision and detection limits approaching the femtogram range for uranium. It is independent of chemical form and degree of dilution with nuisance dust and other materials. High speed sample scanning and pinpoint characterization allow measurements on millions of particles/hour to detect and analyze the enrichment of trace uranium in samples. The spectrometer is assembled using commercially available components at comparatively low cost, and features a compact and low power design. Future designs can be engineered for reliable, autonomous deployment within an industrial plant environment. Two specific applications of the spectrometer are under development: 1) automated unattended aerosol sampling and analysis and 2) on-site small sample destructive assay measurement. The two applications propose game-changing technologicalmore » advances in gaseous centrifuge enrichment plant (GCEP) safeguards verification. The aerosol measurement instrument, LAARS-environmental sampling (ES), collects aerosol particles from the plant environment in a purpose-built rotating drum impactor and then uses LAARS-ES to quickly scan the surface of the impactor to measure the enrichments of the captured particles. The current approach to plant misuse detection involves swipe sampling and offsite analysis. Though this approach is very robust it generally requires several months to obtain results from a given sample collection. The destructive assay instrument, LAARS-destructive assay (DA), uses a simple purpose-built fixture with a sampling planchet to collect adsorbed UF6 gas from a cylinder valve or from a process line tap or pigtail. A portable LAARS-DA instrument scans the microgram quantity of uranium collected on the planchet and the assay of the uranium is measured to ~0.15% relative precision. Currently, destructive assay samples for bias defect measurements are collected in small sample cylinders for offsite mass spectrometry measurement.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1];
  1. Amy
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1072909
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-86043
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
JNMM. Journal of Nuclear Materials Management, 40(4):69-78
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: JNMM. Journal of Nuclear Materials Management, 40(4):69-78
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Safeguards; Enrichment Monitoring; Laser Spectrometry

Citation Formats

Anheier, Norman C, Cannon, Bret D, Qiao, Hong, and Phillips, Jon R. Safeguards Verification Measurements using Laser Ablation, Absorbance Ratio Spectrometry in Gaseous Centrifuge Enrichment Plants. United States: N. p., 2012. Web.
Anheier, Norman C, Cannon, Bret D, Qiao, Hong, & Phillips, Jon R. Safeguards Verification Measurements using Laser Ablation, Absorbance Ratio Spectrometry in Gaseous Centrifuge Enrichment Plants. United States.
Anheier, Norman C, Cannon, Bret D, Qiao, Hong, and Phillips, Jon R. Sun . "Safeguards Verification Measurements using Laser Ablation, Absorbance Ratio Spectrometry in Gaseous Centrifuge Enrichment Plants". United States.
@article{osti_1072909,
title = {Safeguards Verification Measurements using Laser Ablation, Absorbance Ratio Spectrometry in Gaseous Centrifuge Enrichment Plants},
author = {Anheier, Norman C and Cannon, Bret D and Qiao, Hong and Phillips, Jon R},
abstractNote = {Laser Ablation Absorbance Ratio Spectrometry (LAARS) is a new verification measurement technology under development at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). LAARS uses three lasers to ablate and then measure the relative isotopic abundance of uranium compounds. An ablation laser is tightly focused on uranium-bearing solids producing a small plume containing uranium atoms. Two collinear wavelength-tuned spectrometry lasers transit through the plume and the absorbance of U-235 and U-238 isotopes are measured to determine U-235 enrichment. The measurement has high relative precision and detection limits approaching the femtogram range for uranium. It is independent of chemical form and degree of dilution with nuisance dust and other materials. High speed sample scanning and pinpoint characterization allow measurements on millions of particles/hour to detect and analyze the enrichment of trace uranium in samples. The spectrometer is assembled using commercially available components at comparatively low cost, and features a compact and low power design. Future designs can be engineered for reliable, autonomous deployment within an industrial plant environment. Two specific applications of the spectrometer are under development: 1) automated unattended aerosol sampling and analysis and 2) on-site small sample destructive assay measurement. The two applications propose game-changing technological advances in gaseous centrifuge enrichment plant (GCEP) safeguards verification. The aerosol measurement instrument, LAARS-environmental sampling (ES), collects aerosol particles from the plant environment in a purpose-built rotating drum impactor and then uses LAARS-ES to quickly scan the surface of the impactor to measure the enrichments of the captured particles. The current approach to plant misuse detection involves swipe sampling and offsite analysis. Though this approach is very robust it generally requires several months to obtain results from a given sample collection. The destructive assay instrument, LAARS-destructive assay (DA), uses a simple purpose-built fixture with a sampling planchet to collect adsorbed UF6 gas from a cylinder valve or from a process line tap or pigtail. A portable LAARS-DA instrument scans the microgram quantity of uranium collected on the planchet and the assay of the uranium is measured to ~0.15% relative precision. Currently, destructive assay samples for bias defect measurements are collected in small sample cylinders for offsite mass spectrometry measurement.},
doi = {},
journal = {JNMM. Journal of Nuclear Materials Management, 40(4):69-78},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {7}
}