B. Goddard, W.S. Charlton, and P. Peerani, “Quantitative NDA Measurements of Multi-Actinide Oxide Fuels”, Nuclear Technology , 186, 3 (2014).
As new reprocessing techniques and fuel forms are developed, the ability of inspection agencies and facility operators to measure powders containing several actinides becomes increasingly necessary. Neutrons emitted from induced and spontaneous fission of different nuclides are very similar, making it difficult to measure these powders with nondestructive assay techniques. To measure the powders, a neutron multiplicity technique based on first-principle methods was developed to exploit isotope-specific nuclear properties, such as energy-dependent fission cross sections and neutron-induced fission multiplicity. This technique was tested through measurements using an epithermal neutron multiplicity counter with two different interrogation (α,n) sources and varying plutonium materials. To complement these measurements, extensive Monte Carlo N-Particle eXtended (MCNPX) simulations were performed for each measured sample, as well as samples that were not available to measure. The primary application of this first-principle technique is the measurement of materials containing uranium, neptunium, plutonium, and americium. This technique still has several challenges that need to be overcome, the largest of these being the ability to produce results with acceptably small uncertainties.