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Abstract  

Three different spent control rods were obtained for direct-assay measurements and empirical sampling and analysis. They were: 1) a BWR cruciform control rod, 2) a PWR rod-cluster control assembly, and 3) a burnable poison-rod assembly. The dominant activity of the BWR cruciform control rod and the PWR burnable poison-rod assembly is60Co, whereas the PWR rod-cluster control assembly is dominated not only by60Co, but also by108mAg and110mAg, which are found in the Ag–In–Cd alloy of the absorber rods. The radionuclide inventories calculated for the three spent control rods from the empirical sampling data agree very well with data determined from the two direct assay methodologies. The concentration of108mAg in the rod-cluster control assembly will have to be considered when these types of spent control rods are prepared for waste disposal.

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Abstract  

Three different methods for determining the long-lived radionuclide contents of highly neutron activated metal wastes are being compared and assessed using samples of pressurized-water reactor (PWR) and boiling-water reactor (BWR) spent fuel disassembly hardware and control rods. These methods include: 1) empirical analyses involving sampling and laboratory measurements; 2) direct assay techniques; 3) calculation methods. These techniques are discussed and the results of the comparisons made to date are presented. The agreement between empirical versus calculational methods for the disassembly hardware was generally within 10% to 50%, and rarely exceeded a factor of 2.5, especially near the fueled region of the reactor core. However, large discrepancies between the measured versus calculated concentrations were observed for59Ni and63Ni at the end fittings of the fuel assembly hardware, where the calculations underestimated the concentrations by factors varying from about 8 to 28. The calculation errors are believed to be due to inadequate cross section data for the nickel isotopes.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: D. Robertson, V. Thomas, H. Rieck, D. Haggard, W. Reece, J. Pappin, W. Hensley, D. Brown, C. Thomas, and P. Robinson

Abstract  

Battelle, Pacific Northwest Laboratories has recently developed, tested and field-demonstrated a technology for the direct assay of transuranic radionuclides (TRU), fission products, and activation products in a variety of radwaste packages generated at commercial nuclear power plants. This technology involves non-destructive passive neutron counting for determination of nanocurie/gram quantities of the TRU radionuclides. Direct gamma spectrometry combined with thermoluminescent dosimetry (TLD) and correlation analysis is also utilized to determine the concentrations of the fission and activation products present in the radwaste packages. Employing counting times of 10 to 20 minutes, a complete analysis of all radionuclides specified for assay by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (in 10CFR61) prior to shallow-land disposal of commercial radwastes can be measured at concentrations at least tenfold below the least restrictive Class A waste catagory.

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