A rapid, reliable methodology for radionuclide characterization of wet or dry stored used nuclear fuel via the application of algorithm-enhanced scintillator survey spectra
Paul, Jessica Nicole
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The growing concern regarding regulation and accountability of plutonium and SNM produced in commercial and research nuclear reactor fuel has driven the need for new spent nuclear fuel characterization methods to enable quantification and qualification of radioisotopes contained in used fuel in a reliable, quick, and inexpensive manner, with little to no impact on normal reactor operating procedures. This research aims to meet these objectives by employing advanced computational radiation transport methods incorporated into an algorithm to post process scintillator detector data gathered from used nuclear fuel in a spent fuel pool or in air. An existing, novel post processing algorithm, SmartID, has been updated to extract and identify unique photopeaks represented in the underwater environment for pool cooled used fuel. The resulting spectral data will be post-processed using an updated SmartID algorithm folded with deterministic adjoint results to render both qualitative and quantitative fuel content and irradiation estimates. This work has much significance to the nuclear power industry, safeguards, and forensics communities, since it yields this information at room temperature for a relatively low cost.