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Title: Development of a Safeguards Verification Method and Instrument to Detect Pin Diversion from Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) Spent Fuel Assemblies Phase I Study

A novel methodology to detect diversion of spent fuel from Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) has been developed in order to address a long unsolved safeguards verification problem for international safeguards community such as International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). The concept involves inserting tiny neutron and gamma detectors into the guide tubes of a spent fuel assembly and measuring the signals. The guide tubes form a quadrant symmetric pattern in the various PWR fuel product lines and the neutron and gamma signals from these various locations are processed to obtain a unique signature for an undisturbed fuel assembly. Signatures based on the neutron and gamma signals individually or in a combination can be developed. Removal of fuel pins from the assembly will cause the signatures to be visibly perturbed thus enabling the detection of diversion. All of the required signal processing to obtain signatures can be performed on standard laptop computers. Monte Carlo simulation studies and a set of controlled experiments with actual commercial PWR spent fuel assemblies were performed and validated this novel methodology. Based on the simulation studies and benchmarking measurements, the methodology developed promises to be a powerful and practical way tomore » detect partial defects that constitute 10% or more of the total active fuel pins. This far exceeds the detection threshold of 50% missing pins from a spent fuel assembly, a threshold defined by the IAEA Safeguards Criteria. The methodology does not rely on any operator provided data like burnup or cooling time and does not require movement of the fuel assembly from the storage rack in the spent fuel pool. A concept was developed to build a practical field device, Partial Defect Detector (PDET), which will be completely portable and will use standard radiation measuring devices already in use at the IAEA. The use of the device will not require any information provided by the operator or any prior knowledge of the spent fuel assembly. The device can also be operated without any movement of the spent fuel from its storage position. Based on parametric studies conducted via computer simulation, the device should be able to detect diversion of as low as ten percent of the missing or replaced fuel from an assembly regardless of the location of the missing fuel within the assembly, of the cooling time, initial fuel enrichment or burnup levels. Conditions in the spent fuel pool such as clarity of the water or boron content are also not issues for this device. The shape of the base signature is principally dependent on the layout of the guide tubes in the various types of PWR fuel assemblies and perturbations in the form of replaced fuel pins will distort this signature. These features of PDET are all unique and overcome limitation and disadvantages presented by currently used devices such as the Fork detector or the Cerenkov Viewing Device. Thus, this device when developed and tested could fill an important need in the safeguards area for partial defect detection, a technology that the IAEA has been seeking for the past few decades.« less
Authors:
;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
946251
Report Number(s):
LLNL-TR-409660
TRN: US0901267
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, CA
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
98 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; BORON; BURNUP; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; COMPUTERS; COOLING TIME; DEFECTS; DETECTION; EURATOM; FUEL ASSEMBLIES; FUEL PINS; GUIDE TUBES; IAEA; IAEA SAFEGUARDS; NEUTRONS; PWR TYPE REACTORS; RADIATIONS; SAFEGUARDS; SPENT FUELS; STORAGE; VERIFICATION