Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Analysis of Actinides in Dissolved Nuclear Fuels
Department of Energy
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Small Business Information
PO Box 12212, Tallahassee, FL, 32317-0003
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThere is an urgent need for an instrument that can quickly measure the concentration of Plutonium and other Actinides mixed with Uranium in liquids containing dissolved spent fuel rods for process control applications. Parallax Research, Inc. proposes to develop an x-ray spectrometer capable of measuring U, Np and Pu in dissolved nuclear fuel rod material to less than 10 ppm levels to aid in material process control for these nuclear materials. Due to system noise produced by high radioactivity, previous x-ray spectrometers were not capable of low level measurements but the system Parallax proposes has no direct path for undesired radiation to get to the detector and the detector in the proposed device is well shielded from scatter and has very low dark current. In addition, the proposed spectrometer will measure these three elements simultaneously, also measuring background positions with an energy resolution of roughly 100 eV making it possible to see a small amount of Pu that would be hidden under the tail of the U peak in energy dispersive spectrometers. Another nearly identical spectrometer could be used to target Am and Cm if necessary. The proposed spectrometer needs only a tiny sample of roughly 1 micro-liter (1 mm3) and the measurement can be done with the liquid flowing in a radiation and chemical immune quartz capillary protected by a stainless steel rod making it possible to continuously monitor the liquid or to use a capillary manifold to measure other liquid streams. Unlike other methods such as mass spectroscopy where the sample must be taken to a remote facility and might take days for turn-around, the proposed measurement should take less than an hour. This spectrometer will enable near real-time process control of U, Pu and Np in dilute dissolved spent nuclear fuel rod streams.
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