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Title: ATRC Neutron Detector Testing Quick Look Report

As part of the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) National Scientific User Facility (NSUF) program, a joint Idaho State University (ISU) / French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) / Idaho National Laboratory (INL) project was initiated in FY-10 to investigate the feasibility of using neutron sensors to provide online measurements of the neutron flux and fission reaction rate in the ATR Critical Facility (ATRC). A second objective was to provide initial neutron spectrum and flux distribution information for physics modeling and code validation using neutron activation based techniques in ATRC as well as ATR during depressurized operations. Detailed activation spectrometry measurements were made in the flux traps and in selected fuel elements, along with standard fission rate distribution measurements at selected core locations. These measurements provide additional calibration data for the real-time sensors of interest as well as provide benchmark neutronics data that will be useful for the ATR Life Extension Program (LEP) Computational Methods and V&V Upgrade project. As part of this effort, techniques developed by Prof. George Imel will be applied by Idaho State University (ISU) for assessing the performance of various flux detectors to develop detailed procedures for initial and follow-on calibrations of these sensors. Inmore » addition to comparing data obtained from each type of detector, calculations will be performed to assess the performance of and reduce uncertainties in flux detection sensors and compare data obtained from these sensors with existing integral methods employed at the ATRC. The neutron detectors required for this project were provided to team participants at no cost. Activation detectors (foils and wires) from an existing, well-characterized INL inventory were employed. Furthermore, as part of an on-going ATR NSUF international cooperation, the CEA sent INL three miniature fission chambers (one for detecting fast flux and two for detecting thermal flux) with associated electronics for assessment. In addition, Prof. Imel, ISU, has access to an inventory of Self-Powered Neutron Detectors (SPNDs) with a range of response times as well as Back-to-Back (BTB) fission chambers from prior research he conducted at the Transient REActor Test Facility (TREAT) facility and Neutron RADiography (NRAD) reactors. Finally, SPNDs from the National Atomic Energy Commission of Argentina (CNEA) were provided in connection with the INL effort to upgrade ATR computational methods and V&V protocols that are underway as part of the ATR LEP. Work during fiscal year 2010 (FY10) focussed on design and construction of Experiment Guide Tubes (EGTs) for positioning the flux detectors in the ATRC N-16 locations as well as obtaining ATRC staff concurrence for the detector evaluations. Initial evaluations with CEA researchers were also started in FY10 but were cut short due to reactor reliability issues. Reactor availability issues caused experimental work to be delayed during FY11/12. In FY13, work resumed; and evaluations were completed. The objective of this "Quick Look" report is to summarize experimental activities performed from April 4, 2013 through May 16, 2013.« less
Authors:
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1111009
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT-13-29896
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
DOE - NE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 61 RADIATION PROTECTION AND DOSIMETRY; 46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ATRC; detector; Experiment Guide Tube; fission chamber; Neutron; SPND