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Monitoring of Spent Nuclear Fuel Integrity with Muon Imaging

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0024065
Agency Tracking Number: 0000274472
Amount: $199,998.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C56-41b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002903
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-04-09
Small Business Information
12345 1st Amercn Way STE 130
Poway, CA 92064-6828
United States
DUNS: 613391973
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Konstantin Borozdin
 (505) 500-5062
Business Contact
 John Kefalos
Phone: (858) 602-1619
Research Institution

C56-41b-274472Until a final decision is made on the geological depository of spent nuclear fuel (SNF), the majority of it will continue to be stored in dry cask storage systems, primarily composed of welded dry storage canisters. Ensuring the safe storage of aging SNF within these canisters is crucial and requires verification and demonstration of the integrity of the SNF during extended storage periods and transportation. However, due to the heavy shielding inherent in all cask designs, direct imaging and monitoring of the SNF inside the canisters is challenging, preventing the use of many radiographic techniques that rely on the detection of high-energy photons or neutrons. Cosmic-ray muons provide an alternative radiographic probe that is particularly well-suited for imaging very dense objects. Scattering muon tomography was invented at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) approximately 20 years ago and has since demonstrated its efficiency for imaging dense and high-Z materials, including special nuclear materials, although not exclusively. The imaging capabilities of muon imaging make it a natural choice for non-destructive analysis methods to demonstrate the integrity of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) inside dry casks. During Phase I, Decision Sciences will collaborate with LANL to validate the concept of muon tomography for imaging spent nuclear fuel inside casks and to develop a conceptual design of the SFINX detector system, which is specifically designed for this purpose. Our conceptual design will be supported and validated by simulations and demonstration experiments. The success of this project will establish muon tomography as a valuable tool for ensuring the safe and secure storage of spent nuclear fuel and improving the management of nuclear waste in general.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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