Volume 9, Issue 3 (March 2012)
A Feasibility Study to Determine Cooling Time and Burnup of Advanced Test Reactor Fuel Using a Nondestructive Technique and Three Types of Gamma-ray Detectors
The goal of this work was to perform a feasibility study and establish measurement techniques to determine the burnup of the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) fuels at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Three different detectors of high purity germanium (HPGe), lanthanum bromide (LaBr3), and high pressure xenon (HPXe) in two detection system configurations of below and above the water pool were used in this study. The last two detectors were used for the first time in fuel burnup measurements. The results showed that a better quality spectra can be achieved with the above the water pool configuration. Both short and long cooling time fuels were investigated in order to determine which measurement technique, absolute or fission product ratio, is better suited in each scenario and also to establish what type of detector should be used in each case for the best burnup measurement. The burnup and cooling time calibrations were established using experimental absolute activities or isotopic ratios and ORIGEN burnup calculations. A method was developed to do burnup and cooling time calibrations using fission isotopes activities without the need to know the exact geometry.