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Title: Reactors as a Source of Antineutrinos: Effects of Fuel Loading and Burnup for Mixed-Oxide Fuels

Abstract

In a conventional light-water reactor loaded with a range of uranium and plutonium-based fuel mixtures, the variation in antineutrino production over the cycle reflects both the initial core fissile inventory and its evolution. Under an assumption of constant thermal power, we calculate here the rate at which antineutrinos are emitted from variously fueled cores, and the evolution of that rate as measured by a representative ton-scale antineutrino detector. We find that antineutrino flux decreases with burnup for low-enriched uranium cores, increases for full mixed-oxide (MOX) cores, and does not appreciably change for cores with a MOX fraction of approximately 75%. Accounting for uncertainties in the fission yields in the emitted antineutrino spectra and the detector response function, we show that the difference in corewide MOX fractions at least as small as 8% can be distinguished using a hypothesis test. The test compares the evolution of the antineutrino rate relative to an initial value over part or all of the cycle. The use of relative rates reduces the sensitivity of the test to an independent thermal power measurement, making the result more robust against possible countermeasures. This rate-only approach also offers the potential advantage of reducing the cost and complexity ofmore » the antineutrino detectors used to verify the diversion, compared to methods that depend on the use of the antineutrino spectrum. A possible application is the verification of the disposition of surplus plutonium in nuclear reactors.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division
  2. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States). Nuclear and Radiological Engineering Program
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1512620
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1416072
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-712137
Journal ID: ISSN 2331-7019; 849624
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-07NA27344
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review Applied
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2331-7019
Publisher:
American Physical Society (APS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
fission; nuclear reactors; reactor fuels & coolants; neutrino detectors; radiation detectors; scintillators

Citation Formats

Bernstein, Adam, Bowden, Nathaniel S., and Erickson, Anna S. Reactors as a Source of Antineutrinos: Effects of Fuel Loading and Burnup for Mixed-Oxide Fuels. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1103/PhysRevApplied.9.014003.
Bernstein, Adam, Bowden, Nathaniel S., & Erickson, Anna S. Reactors as a Source of Antineutrinos: Effects of Fuel Loading and Burnup for Mixed-Oxide Fuels. United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevApplied.9.014003.
Bernstein, Adam, Bowden, Nathaniel S., and Erickson, Anna S. Mon . "Reactors as a Source of Antineutrinos: Effects of Fuel Loading and Burnup for Mixed-Oxide Fuels". United States. doi:10.1103/PhysRevApplied.9.014003. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1512620.
@article{osti_1512620,
title = {Reactors as a Source of Antineutrinos: Effects of Fuel Loading and Burnup for Mixed-Oxide Fuels},
author = {Bernstein, Adam and Bowden, Nathaniel S. and Erickson, Anna S.},
abstractNote = {In a conventional light-water reactor loaded with a range of uranium and plutonium-based fuel mixtures, the variation in antineutrino production over the cycle reflects both the initial core fissile inventory and its evolution. Under an assumption of constant thermal power, we calculate here the rate at which antineutrinos are emitted from variously fueled cores, and the evolution of that rate as measured by a representative ton-scale antineutrino detector. We find that antineutrino flux decreases with burnup for low-enriched uranium cores, increases for full mixed-oxide (MOX) cores, and does not appreciably change for cores with a MOX fraction of approximately 75%. Accounting for uncertainties in the fission yields in the emitted antineutrino spectra and the detector response function, we show that the difference in corewide MOX fractions at least as small as 8% can be distinguished using a hypothesis test. The test compares the evolution of the antineutrino rate relative to an initial value over part or all of the cycle. The use of relative rates reduces the sensitivity of the test to an independent thermal power measurement, making the result more robust against possible countermeasures. This rate-only approach also offers the potential advantage of reducing the cost and complexity of the antineutrino detectors used to verify the diversion, compared to methods that depend on the use of the antineutrino spectrum. A possible application is the verification of the disposition of surplus plutonium in nuclear reactors.},
doi = {10.1103/PhysRevApplied.9.014003},
journal = {Physical Review Applied},
issn = {2331-7019},
number = 1,
volume = 9,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {1}
}

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Works referenced in this record:

Observation of the isotopic evolution of pressurized water reactor fuel using an antineutrino detector
journal, March 2009

  • Bowden, N. S.; Bernstein, A.; Dazeley, S.
  • Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 105, Issue 6, Article No. 064902
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.3080251

Monitoring the thermal power of nuclear reactors with a prototype cubic meter antineutrino detector
journal, April 2008

  • Bernstein, A.; Bowden, N. S.; Misner, A.
  • Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 103, Issue 7, Article No. 074905
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.2899178