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Title: Cosmic ray muon computed tomography of spent nuclear fuel in dry storage casks

Abstract

Radiography with cosmic ray muon scattering has proven to be a successful method of imaging nuclear material through heavy shielding. Of particular interest is monitoring dry storage casks for diversion of plutonium contained in spent reactor fuel. Using muon tracking detectors that surround a cylindrical cask, cosmic ray muon scattering can be simultaneously measured from all azimuthal angles, giving complete tomographic coverage of the cask interior. This article describes the first application of filtered back projection algorithms, typically used in medical imaging, to cosmic ray muon scattering imaging. The specific application to monitoring spent nuclear fuel in dry storage casks is investigated via GEANT4 simulations. With a cylindrical muon tracking detector surrounding a typical spent fuel cask, simulations indicate that missing fuel bundles can be detected with a statistical significance of ~18σ in less than two days exposure and a sensitivity at 1σ to a 5% missing portion of a fuel bundle. Finally, we discuss potential detector technologies and geometries.

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [2];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [3]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NA-20)
OSTI Identifier:
1345145
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-16-21971
Journal ID: ISSN 0168-9002; TRN: US1700514
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research. Section A, Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 842; Journal ID: ISSN 0168-9002
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; Muon radiography; Tomography; Cosmic rays; Dry cask storage

Citation Formats

Poulson, Daniel Cris, Durham, J. Matthew, Guardincerri, Elena, Morris, Christopher, Bacon, Jeffrey Darnell, Plaud-Ramos, Kenie Omar, Morley, Deborah Jean, and Hecht, Adam A. Cosmic ray muon computed tomography of spent nuclear fuel in dry storage casks. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2016.10.040.
Poulson, Daniel Cris, Durham, J. Matthew, Guardincerri, Elena, Morris, Christopher, Bacon, Jeffrey Darnell, Plaud-Ramos, Kenie Omar, Morley, Deborah Jean, & Hecht, Adam A. Cosmic ray muon computed tomography of spent nuclear fuel in dry storage casks. United States. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2016.10.040.
Poulson, Daniel Cris, Durham, J. Matthew, Guardincerri, Elena, Morris, Christopher, Bacon, Jeffrey Darnell, Plaud-Ramos, Kenie Omar, Morley, Deborah Jean, and Hecht, Adam A. Sat . "Cosmic ray muon computed tomography of spent nuclear fuel in dry storage casks". United States. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2016.10.040. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1345145.
@article{osti_1345145,
title = {Cosmic ray muon computed tomography of spent nuclear fuel in dry storage casks},
author = {Poulson, Daniel Cris and Durham, J. Matthew and Guardincerri, Elena and Morris, Christopher and Bacon, Jeffrey Darnell and Plaud-Ramos, Kenie Omar and Morley, Deborah Jean and Hecht, Adam A.},
abstractNote = {Radiography with cosmic ray muon scattering has proven to be a successful method of imaging nuclear material through heavy shielding. Of particular interest is monitoring dry storage casks for diversion of plutonium contained in spent reactor fuel. Using muon tracking detectors that surround a cylindrical cask, cosmic ray muon scattering can be simultaneously measured from all azimuthal angles, giving complete tomographic coverage of the cask interior. This article describes the first application of filtered back projection algorithms, typically used in medical imaging, to cosmic ray muon scattering imaging. The specific application to monitoring spent nuclear fuel in dry storage casks is investigated via GEANT4 simulations. With a cylindrical muon tracking detector surrounding a typical spent fuel cask, simulations indicate that missing fuel bundles can be detected with a statistical significance of ~18σ in less than two days exposure and a sensitivity at 1σ to a 5% missing portion of a fuel bundle. Finally, we discuss potential detector technologies and geometries.},
doi = {10.1016/j.nima.2016.10.040},
journal = {Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research. Section A, Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment},
number = ,
volume = 842,
place = {United States},
year = {Sat Oct 22 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Sat Oct 22 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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Cited by: 3works
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  • In this paper, cosmic ray muon radiography has been used to identify the absence of spent nuclear fuel bundles inside a sealed dry storage cask. The large amounts of shielding that dry storage casks use to contain radiation from the highly radioactive contents impedes typical imaging methods, but the penetrating nature of cosmic ray muons allows them to be used as an effective radiographic probe. This technique was able to successfully identify missing fuel bundles inside a sealed Westinghouse MC-10 cask. This method of fuel cask verification may prove useful for international nuclear safeguards inspectors. Finally, muon radiography may findmore » other safety and security or safeguards applications, such as arms control verification.« less
  • Most of the plutonium in the world resides inside spent nuclear reactor fuel rods. This high-level radioactive waste is commonly held in long-term storage within large, heavily shielded casks. Currently, international nuclear safeguards inspectors have no stand-alone method of verifying the amount of reactor fuel stored within a sealed cask. In this paper, we demonstrate experimentally that measurements of the scattering angles of cosmic-ray muons, which pass through a storage cask, can be used to determine if spent fuel assemblies are missing without opening the cask. Finally, this application of technology and methods commonly used in high-energy particle physics providesmore » a potential solution to this long-standing problem in international nuclear safeguards.« less
  • We report that highly energetic, cosmic-ray muons can penetrate a dry storage cask and yield information about the material inside it by making use of the physics of multiple Coulomb scattering. Work by others has shown this information may be used for verification of dry storage cask contents after continuity of knowledge has been lost. In our modeling and simulation approach, we use ideal planar radiation detectors to record the trajectories and momentum of both incident and exiting cosmic ray muons; this choice allows us to demonstrate the fundamental limit of the technology for a particular measurement and reconstruction method.more » In a method analogous to computed tomography with the attenuation coefficient replaced by scattering density, we apply a filtered back projection algorithm in order to reconstruct the geometry in modeled scenarios for a VSC-24 concrete-walled cask. We also report on our attempt to estimate material-specific information. A scenario where one of the middle four spent nuclear fuel assemblies is missing—undetectable with a simple PoCA-based approach—is expected to be detectable with a CT-based approach. Moreover, a trickier scenario where one or more assemblies is replaced by a dummy assembly is put forward. Lastly, in this case, we expect that this dry storage cask should be found to be not as declared based on our simulation and reconstruction results.« less
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