0
Research Papers

High-Efficiency Gamma-Beta Blind Alpha Spectrometry for Nuclear Energy Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Jeffrey A. Webster

School of Nuclear Engineering,
Purdue University,
400 Central Dr., West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: jawebste@purdue.edu

Alexander Hagen

School of Nuclear Engineering,
Purdue University,
400 Central Dr., West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: ahagen@purdue.edu

Brian C. Archambault

Sagamore Adams Laboratories LLC.,
190 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60603
e-mail: barchambault@salabsllc.com

Nicholas Hume

School of Nuclear Engineering,
Purdue University,
400 Central Dr., West Lafayette, IN 47907

Rusi Taleyarkhan

School of Nuclear Engineering,
Purdue University,
400 Central Dr., West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: rusi@purdue.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received September 30, 2014; final manuscript received February 16, 2015; published online May 20, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Rosa Maria Montereali.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 1(3), 031006 (May 20, 2015) (10 pages) Paper No: NERS-14-1044; doi: 10.1115/1.4029926 History: Received September 30, 2014; Accepted February 27, 2015; Online May 20, 2015

A novel, centrifugally tensioned metastable fluid detector (CTMFD) sensor technology has been developed over the last decade to demonstrate high selective sensitivity and detection efficiency to various forms of radiation for wide-ranging conditions (e.g., power, safeguards, security, and health physics) relevant to the nuclear energy industry. The CTMFD operates by tensioning a liquid with centrifugal force to weaken the bonds in the liquid to the point whereby even femtoscale nuclear particle interactions can break the fluid and cause a detectable vaporization cascade. The operating principle has only peripheral similarity to the superheated bubble chamber-based superheated droplet detectors (SDD). Instead, CTMFDs utilize mechanical “tension pressure” instead of thermal superheat, offering a lot of practical advantages. CTMFDs have been used to detect a variety of alpha- and neutron-emitting sources in near real time. The CTMFD is blind to gamma photons and betas allowing for detection of alphas and neutrons in extreme gamma/beta background environments such as spent fuel reprocessing plants. The selective sensitivity allows for differentiation between alpha emitters including the isotopes of plutonium. Mixtures of plutonium isotopes have been measured in ratios of 11, 21, and 31 Pu-238:Pu-239 with successful differentiation. Due to the lack of gamma-beta background interference, the CTMFD is inherently more sensitive than scintillation-based alpha spectrometers or SDDs and has been proved capable to detect below femtogram quantities of plutonium-238. Plutonium is also easily distinguishable from neptunium, making it easy to measure the plutonium concentration in the NPEX stream of a UREX reprocessing facility. The CTMFD has been calibrated for alphas from americium (5.5 MeV) and curium (6MeV) as well. Furthermore, the CTMFD has, recently, also been used to detect spontaneous and induced fission events, which can be differentiated from alpha decay, allowing for detection of fissionable material in a mixture of isotopes. This paper discusses these transformational developments, which are also being considered for real-world commercial use.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.

References

Sagamore Adams Laboratories, 2012, www.salabsllc.com.
Taleyarkhan, R., Lapinskas, J., and Xu, Y., 2008, “Tensioned Metastable Fluids and Nanoscale Interactions With External Stimuli—Theoretical-Cum-Experimental Assessments and Nuclear Engineering Applications,” Nucl. Eng. Des., 238(7), pp. 1820–1827. 10.1016/j.nucengdes.2007.10.019
Taleyarkhan, R., Lapinskas, J., Archambault, B., Webster, J., Grimes, T., Hagen, A., Fisher, K., McDeavitt, S., and Charlton, W., 2013, “Real-Time Monitoring of Actinides in Chemical Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Plants,” Chem.l Eng. Res. Des., 91(4), pp. 688–702. 10.1016/j.cherd.2013.02.010
Scholander, P. F., Bradstreet, E. D., Hemmingsen, E., and Hammel, H., 1965, “Sap Pressure in Vascular Plants Negative Hydrostatic Pressure can be Measured in Plants,” Science, 148(3668), pp. 339–346. 10.1126/science.148.3668.339 [PubMed]
Smagacz, P. J., 2006, “Fast Neutron, Gamma Insensitive, Centrifugally Tensioned Metastable Fluid Detector,” Master’s of Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette.
Grimes, T., Archambault, B., Webster, J., Mosier, A., and Taleyarkhan, R., 2012, “Transformational Nuclear Particle Sensors-Prediction of Detection Thresholds in Tensioned Metastable Fluids,” Trans. Am. Nucl. Soc., 106, pp. 650–651.
Lapinskas, J. R., Zielinski, S. M., Webster, J. A., Taleyarkhan, R. P., McDeavitt, S. M., and Xu, Y., 2010, “Tension Metastable Fluid Detection Systems for Special Nuclear Material Detection and Monitoring,” Nuc. Eng. Des., 240(10), pp. 2866–2871. 10.1016/j.nucengdes.2010.05.058
Hume, N., Webster, J., Grimes, T., Hagen, A., Taleyarkhan, R., and Archambault, B., 2013, “The MAC-TMFD: Novel Multi-Armed Centrifugally Tensioned Metastable Fluid Detector (Gamma-Blind)—Neutron-Alpha Recoil Spectrometer,” Proceedingsof 2013 IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security (HST), IEEE, New York, pp. 435–440.
Sansone, A., Zielinski, S., Webster, J., Lapinskas, J., Taleyarkhan, R., and Block, R., 2011, “Gamma-Blind Nuclear Particle-Induced Bubble Formation in Tensioned Metastable Fluids,” Trans. Am. Nucl. Soc., 104, p. 1033.
Knoll, G. F., 2010, Radiation Detection and Measurement, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.
Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, 2000, “Table of Nuclides,” http://atom.kaeri.re.kr/.
Gauld, I. C., Hermann, O. W., and Westfall, R. M., 2009, “ORIGEN-S: Scale System Module to Calculate Fuel Depletion, Actinide Transmutation, Fission Product Buildup and Decay, and Associated Radiation Source Terms,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, , Version 6.
Hagmann, C. A., Dietrich, D. D., Hall, J. M., Kerr, P. L., Nakae, L. F., Newby, R. J., Rowland, M. S., Snyderman, N. J., and Stoeffl, W., 2009, “Active Detection of Shielded SNM With 60-keV Neutrons,” IEEE Trans. Nucl. Sci., 56(3), pp. 1215–1217. 10.1109/TNS.2009.2012859
IAEA, 2008, “International Atomic Energy Agency Nuclear Technology Review.”

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

CTMFD diagram [5] (with permission)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Alpha detection in idealized detector

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Measured CTMFD wait-time curve (1σ error bars)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Example of previous CTMFD calibration [7] (with permission) (1σ error bars)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Wait-time curve for 1∶1 ratio of PU-238:PU-239 (1σ error bars)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

3∶1 Pu-238:239 isotope ratio measurement convergence (1σ error bars)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Run requirements per pressure for 25% 1σ uncertainty of Pu-238:Pu-239 ratio

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

UREX+ general flowchart [3]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Curium measurements in FPEX sample (1σ error bars)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Alpha decay in SNF at several decay times

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Alpha decay rates for NPEX product

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

SF rate in NPEX product

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Induced fission by a CF252 source in UREX raffinate

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Induced fission from low-energy neutrons in NPEX product

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 16

Key steps in PUREX process [14]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 17

Traditional CTMFD design [8]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 18

MAC-TMFD design [8]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 19

MAC-TMFD spectrometer concept diagram [8]

Tables

Errata

Discussions

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In