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Journal Articles Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment Year : 2016

Feasibility study of 235U and 239Pu characterization in radioactive waste drums using neutron-induced fission delayed gamma rays

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Abstract

This paper reports a feasibility study of 235U and 239Pu characterization in 225 L bituminized waste drums or 200 L concrete waste drums, by detecting delayed fission gamma rays between the pulses of a deuterium-tritium neutron generator. The delayed gamma yields were first measured with bare samples of 235U and 239Pu in REGAIN, a facility dedicated to the assay of 118 L waste drums by Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation Analysis (PGNAA) at CEA Cadarache, France. Detectability in the waste drums is then assessed using the MCNPX model of MEDINA (Multi Element Detection based on Instrumental Neutron Activation), another PGNAA cell dedicated to 200 L drums at FZJ, Germany. For the bituminized waste drum, performances are severely hampered by the high gamma background due to 137Cs, which requires the use of collimator and shield to avoid electronics saturation, these elements being very penalizing for the detection of the weak delayed gamma signal. However, for lower activity concrete drums, detection limits range from 10 to 290 g of 235U or 239Pu, depending on the delayed gamma rays of interest. These detection limits have been determined by using MCNPX to calculate the delayed gamma useful signal, and by measuring the experimental gamma background in MEDINA with a 200 L concrete drum mock-up. The performances could be significantly improved by using a higher interrogating neutron emission and an optimized experimental setup, which would allow characterizing nuclear materials in a wide range of low and medium activity waste packages.
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Dates and versions

in2p3-01338651 , version 1 (29-06-2016)

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T. Nicol, B. Pérot, C. Carasco, Emmanuelle Brackx, A. Mariani, et al.. Feasibility study of 235U and 239Pu characterization in radioactive waste drums using neutron-induced fission delayed gamma rays. Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, 2016, 832, pp.85-94. ⟨10.1016/j.nima.2016.06.055⟩. ⟨in2p3-01338651⟩
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