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A.V. Goodsell, W.S. Charlton, "Quartz-Crystal Spectrometer for the Analysis of Plutonium K X-Rays," Proceedings of GLOBAL 2011, Makuhar, Japan, December 11-16, 2011.


The ability to quickly quantify the Pu content within spent nuclear fuel (SNF) is essential to nuclear forensics.   Analysis of the Pu PuU to U UPu ratio can provide information on fuel and reactor history, including age, burnup and reactor typewhich could contribute to the attribution of a fuel sample.   Plutonium concentration data can be acquired through non-destructive analysis (NDA) by detecting self-induced x-ray fluorescence (XRF) from Pu in the fuel.  However, during conventional spectroscopy, the characteristic Pu x-ray peak of interest lies beneath background and requires an extended count time.   Crystal spectrometers allow x-rays of selected energies, obeying Bragg's law for coherent scattering of incident photons, to be focused directly onto a detector.  This provides a high signal with limited background by decreasing the possible Compton interaction in the detector.   The crystal design and the experimental geometry that would allow for the study of high energy x-rays required further attention.   In addition, a preliminary MCNP simulation of the energy-direction coupled photon source from the quartz crystal was used to calculate the improved signal-to-noise ratio of the Pu x-ray peak above background.

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Associated Project(s):

  • Bent-Crystal Spectrometer Analyzing Plutonium K X-Rays for Applications in Nuclear Forensics

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