Discriminating Uranium Isotopes Using the Time-Emission Profiles of Long-Lived Delayed Neutrons

J. Nattress, K. Ogren, A. Foster, Amira Barhoumi Ep Meddeb, Zoubeida Ounaies, I. Jovanovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

In nuclear nonproliferation and safeguards, detecting and accurately characterizing special nuclear material remains one of the greatest challenges. Uranium enrichment determination is typically achieved by measuring the ratio of characteristic γ-ray emissions from U235 and U238. Fission also produces β-delayed neutrons, which have been used in the past to determine uranium enrichment from the time dependence of the long-lived delayed-neutron emission rate. Such measurements typically use moderated He3-tube detectors. We demonstrate an alternative measurement technique that employs a fast neutron active-interrogation probe and a scintillation detector to measure the enrichment of uranium using both the buildup and decay of β-delayed-neutron emission. Instead of He3 tubes, a capture-based heterogeneous composite detector consisting of scintillating Li glass and polyvinyl toluene is constructed and used, offering a prospect to scale delayed-neutron measurements to larger detector sizes. Since the technique relies on the existing tabulated nuclear data, no calibration standards are required. It is shown that the buildup of delayed-neutron emission can be used to distinguish between uranium samples and infer the uranium enrichment level, with accuracy that rivals the method that employs the time-dependent decay of delayed-neutron emission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024049
JournalPhysical Review Applied
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 30 2018

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uranium isotopes
neutron emission
uranium
neutrons
profiles
detectors
tubes
interrogation
decay
fast neutrons
scintillation
time dependence
fission
toluene
rays
composite materials
probes
glass

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "In nuclear nonproliferation and safeguards, detecting and accurately characterizing special nuclear material remains one of the greatest challenges. Uranium enrichment determination is typically achieved by measuring the ratio of characteristic γ-ray emissions from U235 and U238. Fission also produces β-delayed neutrons, which have been used in the past to determine uranium enrichment from the time dependence of the long-lived delayed-neutron emission rate. Such measurements typically use moderated He3-tube detectors. We demonstrate an alternative measurement technique that employs a fast neutron active-interrogation probe and a scintillation detector to measure the enrichment of uranium using both the buildup and decay of β-delayed-neutron emission. Instead of He3 tubes, a capture-based heterogeneous composite detector consisting of scintillating Li glass and polyvinyl toluene is constructed and used, offering a prospect to scale delayed-neutron measurements to larger detector sizes. Since the technique relies on the existing tabulated nuclear data, no calibration standards are required. It is shown that the buildup of delayed-neutron emission can be used to distinguish between uranium samples and infer the uranium enrichment level, with accuracy that rivals the method that employs the time-dependent decay of delayed-neutron emission.",
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Discriminating Uranium Isotopes Using the Time-Emission Profiles of Long-Lived Delayed Neutrons. / Nattress, J.; Ogren, K.; Foster, A.; Barhoumi Ep Meddeb, Amira; Ounaies, Zoubeida; Jovanovic, I.

In: Physical Review Applied, Vol. 10, No. 2, 024049, 30.08.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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