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D. Sweeney, "Reactor Power History from Fission Product Signatures," M.S. Thesis, Texas A & M University, December 2008.



The purpose of this research was to identify fission product signatures that could be used to uniquely identify a specific spent fuel assembly in order to improve international safeguards. This capability would help prevent and deter potential diversion of spent fuel for a nuclear weapons program. The power history experienced by a fuel assembly is distinct and could serve as the basis of a method for unique identification. Using fission product concentrations to characterize the assembly power history would limit the ability of a proliferator to deceive the identification method. As part of the work completed, the TransLat lattice physics code was successfully benchmarked for fuel depletion. By developing analytical models for potential monitor isotopes an understanding was built of how specific isotope characteristics affect the production and destruction mechanisms that determine fission product concentration. With this knowledge potential monitor isotopes were selected and tested for concentration differences as a result of power history variations. Signature ratios were found to have significant concentration differences as a result of power history variations while maintaining a constant final burnup. A conceptual method for implementation of a fission product identification system was proposed in conclusion.

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Associated Project(s):

  • Transparency Methods Development using Fission Product Signatures

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