J. Allred ,
"Experimental Analysis of Plutonium Product and Raffinate Waste Streams from a PUREX Process on a low Burn-up, Fast Neutron Irradiated DUO2 Pellet,"
M.S. Thesis, Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2016).
Experimental investigations of separating actinides (uranium and
plutonium) from fission products (FPs) were conducted using a
modified Plutonium Uranium Recovery by Extraction (PUREX) process.
The sample under investigation was from a low burn-up (< 5
GWd/tU), depleted uranium dioxide (DUO2) pellet (~13
milligrams) irradiated in a fast neutron spectrum in the High Flux
Isotope Reactor (HFIR) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
This sample simulated the DUO2 blanket region of a Fast
Breeder Reactor (FBR) which was removed at low burn-up for
weapons-grade plutonium (WGPu) recovery. The potential to misuse
the material generated in this type of reactor prompts interest in
a detailed analysis of the FPs present in the separated plutonium
product and raffinate streams. A detailed understanding of these
unique compositions would aid nuclear forensics activities for
source attribution in the case of smuggled plutonium interdiction
or at an inspection of a reprocessing plant to catch the misuse of
such a plant.
The objective of the study was to quantify the fission product
decontamination factor (DF) for PUREX process steps while
separating and purifying plutonium. Aliquots of the dissolved
neutron irradiated DUO2 sample containing FPs and WGPu,
underwent three modified PUREX decontamination cycles with products
(organic and aqueous solutions) from each process step being
analyzed via high-resolution gamma spectroscopy. Distribution
ratios and DF values were calculated for nuclides of interest to be
incorporated into a larger nuclear forensics database.
Associated Project(s):Plutonium Fingerprinting for Forensics (PuFF) Project