Title: Stable Noble Gas Isotopes for Strengthening Nuclear Safeguards: The Measurement Point of View
Citation: Proceedings of the 29th ESARDA Annual Meeting - Symposium on Safeguards and Nuclear Material Management p. 1-7
Publisher: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities (OPOCE)
Publication Year: 2007
JRC N°: JRC41168
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC41168
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The IAEA is currently investigating new technologies to strengthen the effectiveness of its inspection and verification activities. In particular, the IAEA is looking for new methods and instruments, which are applicable to the detection of undeclared nuclear activities and facilities. Recently the IAEA Department of Safeguards held a Co-ordinated Expert Meeting on Noble Gas Monitoring at IAEA Headquarters in Vienna to review the applicability of noble gas sampling, analysis and monitoring for IAEA safeguards. A feasibility study was performed at the EC-JRC - Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) in cooperation with the EC-JRC-Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) investigating the potential of identifying reprocessing activities by means of isotopic measurements of xenon and krypton. The KORIGEN code and the SCALE program were used to calculate the nuclear inventory of spent fuel for two scenarios involving high burn-up fuel as well as for two scenarios that could be used for production of weapons-grade plutonium (low burn-up). Noble-gas isotopes are produced during the fission process: their isotopic composition is largely different from those of natural noble gases. Consequently, significant isotopic alterations are caused by dilution of the released noble gases with those in the atmosphere. This dilution process was ¿simulated¿ for noble gas generation due to high and low burn-up reactor operating scenarios by examining the isotopic alteration of xenon at different blending ratios. The potential and limitations from the analytical measurement point of view, considering routine and reference measurements, to measure these changes in stable xenon and krypton isotopic ratios were discussed. A potential laboratory network approach yielding reasonable cost-benefit quality assurance was suggested. The conclusion was reached that characteristic xenon and krypton signatures originating from irradiated fuel are a promising additional tool for confirmation of operation declaration of fuel reprocessed at large nuclear reprocessing plants. Within some constraints the accumulated information gained from xenon signatures could also provide valuable information for nuclear safeguards verification of undeclared reprocessing activities, supplementary to radiometric measurements of 85Kr.
JRC Directorate:Health, Consumers and Reference Materials

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