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Title: A Laser-Based Method for On-Site Analysis of UF6 at Enrichment Plants

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) long-term research and development plan calls for more cost-effective and efficient safeguard methods to detect and deter misuse of gaseous centrifuge enrichment plants (GCEPs). The IAEA’s current safeguards approaches at GCEPs are based on a combination of routine and random inspections that include environmental sampling and destructive assay (DA) sample collection from UF6 in-process material and selected cylinders. Samples are then shipped offsite for subsequent laboratory analysis. In this paper, a new DA sample collection and onsite analysis approach that could help to meet challenges in transportation and chain of custody for UF6 DA samples is introduced. This approach uses a handheld sampler concept and a Laser Ablation, Laser Absorbance Spectrometry (LAARS) analysis instrument, both currently under development at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. A LAARS analysis instrument could be temporarily or permanently deployed in the IAEA control room of the facility, in the IAEA data acquisition cabinet, for example. The handheld PNNL DA sampler design collects and stabilizes a much smaller DA sample mass compared to current sampling methods. The significantly lower uranium mass reduces the sample radioactivity and the stabilization approach diminishes the risk of uranium and hydrogen fluoride release. These attributesmore » enable safe sample handling needed during onsite LAARS assay and may help ease shipping challenges for samples to be processed at the IAEA’s offsite laboratory. The LAARS and DA sampler implementation concepts will be described and preliminary technical viability results presented.« less
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Conference: Symposium on International Safeguards: Linking Strategy, Implementation and People, October 20-24, 2014, Vienna, Austria, IAEA CN-220
International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States
uranium enrichment; laser spectroscopy; LAARS