Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 179 / Number 3 / March 2015 / Pages 264-273
Technical Paper / dx.doi.org/10.13182/NSE13-71
Improved nondestructive assay of isotopic masses in used nuclear fuel would be valuable for nuclear safeguards operations associated with the transport, storage, and reprocessing of used nuclear fuel. Our collaboration is examining the feasibility of using lead slowing-down spectrometry techniques to assay the isotopic fissile masses in used nuclear fuel assemblies. We present the application of our analysis algorithms to measurements conducted with a lead spectrometer. The measurements involved a single fresh fuel pin and discrete 239Pu and 235U samples. We are able to describe the isotopic fissile masses with root-mean-square errors over seven different configurations to 6.3% for 239Pu and 2.7% for 235U. Significant effort is yet needed to demonstrate the applicability of these algorithms for used-fuel assemblies, but the results reported here are encouraging in demonstrating that we are making progress toward that goal.