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A methodology, based on the non-destructive assay (NDA) techniques passive neutron and gamma interrogation in order to characterize spent nuclear fuel, inside a hot cell, in terms of its burn-up and cooling time. The total neutron and gamma emissions of the fuel are measured through boron fluoride and Geiger-Müller detectors. In addition, gamma spectroscopy is carried out on the fuel using a HPGe detector situated outside the hot cell and collimated through the cell wall and a collimated CdTe miniature detector inside the hot cell. Hence, total neutron and gamma measurement, and gamma spectroscopy of spent fuel are integrated within the same counting unit. The work reported here demonstrates the use of passive neutron interrogation and gamma spectroscopy for the verification of the declared burn-up and cooling time of UO(2) spent fuel from a pressurized water reactor (PWR) power station. The agreement between the declared burn-up and that predicated by passive neutron interrogation is within 4%. An agreement within 3% is observed between the declared cooling time and the prediction from the gamma spectroscopy. The chemical analyses of pellets from these fuels allowed an independent determination of the fuel composition. The predictions of plutonium and minor actinides are within 2% and 5% respectively of these determined by chemical analyses.

Additional information

Authors: NICOLAOU G, JRC Karlsruhe (DE);ABBAS K, JRC Karlsruhe (DE);KOCH L, JRC Karlsruhe (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented : International Topical Meeting on Radioactive Waste TOPSEAL 96, Stockholm (SE), June 9-12, 1996
Availability: Available from (1) as Paper EN 39873 ORA
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