Google+ Measurement of Plutonium in Spent Nuclear Fuel by Self-Induced X-ray Fluorescence | Educating the Next Generation of Leaders in Nuclear Security Sciences
Skip navigation


A. Hoover, W. S. Charlton, M.L. Fensin, A. Rajasingam, C. Rudy, S. Saavedra A. Stafford, D. Strohmeyer, S. Tobin, "Measurement of Plutonium in Spent Nuclear Fuel by Self-Induced X-ray Fluorescence," Proceedings of the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Tucson, AZ, July 12-15, 2009.


Direct measurement of the plutonium content in spent nuclear fuel is a challenging problem in non-destructive assay. The very high gamma-ray flux from fission product isotopes overwhelms the weaker gamma-ray emissions from plutonium and uranium, making passive gamma-ray measurements impossible. However, the intense fission product radiation is effective at excitingplutonium and uranium atoms, resulting in subsequent fluorescence X-ray emission. K-shell X-rays in the 100 keV energy range can escape the fuel and cladding, providing a direct signal from uranium and plutonium that can be measured with a standard germanium detector. The measured plutonium to uranium elemental ratio can be used to compute the plutoniumcontent of the fuel. The technique can potentially provide a passive, non-destructive assay tool for determining plutonium content in spent fuel. In this paper, we discuss recent non-destructive measurements of plutonium X-ray fluorescence (XRF) signatures from pressurized water reactor spent fuel rods. We also discuss how emerging new technologies, like very-high energy resolution microcalorimeter detectors, might be applied to XRF measurements.


See Document

Associated Project(s):

  • Development of Advanced Safeguards Measurement Techniques Using the Coupled End-to-End (CETE) Demonstration at ORNL

  • View Sitemap