Neutron Generator Driven Active Fuel Scanner

Rittenhouse, Katie; Phoenix Nuclear Labs; United States

Moll, E.; Phoenix Nuclear Labs; USA
Radel, R.; Phoenix Nuclear Labs; USA
Sengbusch, E.; Phoenix Nuclear Labs; USA
Seyfert, C.; Phoenix Nuclear Labs; USA
Thomas, M.; Phoenix Nuclear Labs; USA

ID: ECNDT-0256-2018
Session: Nuclear Industry 1
Room: H2
Date: 2018-06-13
Time: 11:30 - 11:50

Non-Destructive Assay has long been used for active scanning of nuclear fuel. In this method, fuel rods traverse through a scanner with an activation zone in which they are subjected to neutron radiation and fission activity is subsequently measured as the rods exit the irradiator. From this and other information, the enrichment and other characteristics of each rod and pellet are determined.

Californium-252 has traditionally been used as the neutron source in the activation zone, because it is an intense neutron emitter and is readily packaged in compact, portable capsules. However, a recent shift to a full cost-recovery basis for Cf-252 has led to a more than 10 times increase in cost. This increase in cost is forcing some Cf-252 users to seek alternate neutron sources, including nuclear fuel manufacturers.

Phoenix Nuclear Labs has developed a high-flux, accelerator-based neutron source that is a viable alternative for applications requiring large Cf-252 sources – on the milligram-scale or larger – such as neutron radiography, nuclear fuel rod scanning, and neutron flux detector calibration. Neutron flux modeling and expected fission rates for the complete active scanning system based on the PNL neutron generator will be presented.