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Title: Isotope Enrichment Detection by Laser Ablation - Dual Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectrometry

Abstract

The rapid global expansion of nuclear energy is motivating the expedited development of new safeguards technology to mitigate potential proliferation threats arising from monitoring gaps within the uranium enrichment process. Current onsite enrichment level monitoring methods are limited by poor sensitivity and accuracy performance. Offsite analysis has better performance, but this approach requires onsite hand sampling followed by time-consuming and costly post analysis. These limitations make it extremely difficult to implement comprehensive safeguards accounting measures that can effectively counter enrichment facility misuse. In addition, uranium enrichment by modern centrifugation leads to a significant proliferation threat, since the centrifuge cascades can quickly produce a significant quantity of highly enriched uranium (HEU). The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is developing an engineered safeguards approach having continuous aerosol particulate collection and uranium isotope analysis to provide timely detection of HEU production in a low enriched uranium facility. This approach is based on laser vaporization of aerosol particulate samples, followed by wavelength tuned laser diode spectroscopy, to characterize the 235U/238U isotopic ratio by subtle differences in atomic absorption wavelengths arising from differences in each isotope’s nuclear mass, volume, and spin (hyperfine structure for 235U). Environmental sampling media is introduced into a small, reduced pressure chamber,more » where a focused pulsed laser vaporizes a 10 to 20-µm sample diameter. The ejected plasma forms a plume of atomic vapor. A plume for a sample containing uranium has atoms of the 235U and 238U isotopes present. Tunable diode lasers are directed through the plume to selectively excite each isotope and their presence is detected by monitoring absorbance signals on a shot-to-shot basis. Single-shot detection sensitivity approaching the femtogram range and abundance uncertainty less than 10% have been demonstrated with measurements on surrogate materials. In this paper we present measurement results on samples containing background materials (e.g., dust, minerals, soils) laced with micron-sized target particles having isotopic ratios ranging from 1 to 50%.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
990564
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-66890
TRN: US1007323
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Proceedings of the 50th Annual Meeting of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; ABLATION; ABSORPTION; DETECTION; ENRICHED URANIUM; EVAPORATION; HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM; ISOTOPE SEPARATION; LASERS; MONITORING; NUCLEAR ENERGY; NUCLEAR MATERIALS MANAGEMENT; SAFEGUARDS; URANIUM; URANIUM ISOTOPES; Uranium Enrichment; Laser Spectroscopy; Isotopic Measurement

Citation Formats

Anheier, Norman C, and Bushaw, Bruce A. Isotope Enrichment Detection by Laser Ablation - Dual Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectrometry. United States: N. p., 2009. Web.
Anheier, Norman C, & Bushaw, Bruce A. Isotope Enrichment Detection by Laser Ablation - Dual Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectrometry. United States.
Anheier, Norman C, and Bushaw, Bruce A. Wed . "Isotope Enrichment Detection by Laser Ablation - Dual Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectrometry". United States.
@article{osti_990564,
title = {Isotope Enrichment Detection by Laser Ablation - Dual Tunable Diode Laser Absorption Spectrometry},
author = {Anheier, Norman C and Bushaw, Bruce A},
abstractNote = {The rapid global expansion of nuclear energy is motivating the expedited development of new safeguards technology to mitigate potential proliferation threats arising from monitoring gaps within the uranium enrichment process. Current onsite enrichment level monitoring methods are limited by poor sensitivity and accuracy performance. Offsite analysis has better performance, but this approach requires onsite hand sampling followed by time-consuming and costly post analysis. These limitations make it extremely difficult to implement comprehensive safeguards accounting measures that can effectively counter enrichment facility misuse. In addition, uranium enrichment by modern centrifugation leads to a significant proliferation threat, since the centrifuge cascades can quickly produce a significant quantity of highly enriched uranium (HEU). The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is developing an engineered safeguards approach having continuous aerosol particulate collection and uranium isotope analysis to provide timely detection of HEU production in a low enriched uranium facility. This approach is based on laser vaporization of aerosol particulate samples, followed by wavelength tuned laser diode spectroscopy, to characterize the 235U/238U isotopic ratio by subtle differences in atomic absorption wavelengths arising from differences in each isotope’s nuclear mass, volume, and spin (hyperfine structure for 235U). Environmental sampling media is introduced into a small, reduced pressure chamber, where a focused pulsed laser vaporizes a 10 to 20-µm sample diameter. The ejected plasma forms a plume of atomic vapor. A plume for a sample containing uranium has atoms of the 235U and 238U isotopes present. Tunable diode lasers are directed through the plume to selectively excite each isotope and their presence is detected by monitoring absorbance signals on a shot-to-shot basis. Single-shot detection sensitivity approaching the femtogram range and abundance uncertainty less than 10% have been demonstrated with measurements on surrogate materials. In this paper we present measurement results on samples containing background materials (e.g., dust, minerals, soils) laced with micron-sized target particles having isotopic ratios ranging from 1 to 50%.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2009},
month = {7}
}

Conference:
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