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Abstract  

234U/238U α-activity ratios determined by α-spectrometry (AS) and those calculated from the atom ratio data using the half-life values are compared in some of the isotopic reference materials of uranium and a few other uranium samples. For α-spectrometry, electrodeposited sources were prepared and a large area passivated ion implanted (IPE) detector (450 mm2) was used for recording the α-spectra. The isotopic composition of U was determined by thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS) and the recommended half-life values of234U and238U were used to calculate the α-activity ratio. It is observed that234U/238U α-activity ratios calculated from the atom ratio data are consistently high, with a mean difference of about 5%, when compared to the α-spectrometry results. This discrepancy warrants confirmation by a few more laboratories and suggests redetermination of the half-life values of234U and238U.

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Abstract  

Determination of americium is one of the requirements of chemical quality assurance of plutonium bearing fuel materials. Alpha-spectrometry is generally used for the determination of 241Am in Pu bearing fuels since the efficiency of semiconductor detector used for alpha-spectrometry is independent of the alpha-particle energy in the 4 to 8 MeV range. However, this method has limitations for Pu samples containing extremely small or very large amounts of 241Am. Thus an alternative methodology based on alpha/gamma (α/γ) activity ratio was developed and tested using different samples. The method is based on the determination of total γ-activity (of 60 keV peak) of an aliquot of the solution and the total α-activity present in the aliquot. The method is fast as it does not involve chemical separation of Pu and Am as required in the alpha-spectrometric method. Data obtained on synthetic and real life samples demonstrates the usefulness of the developed alpha/gamma ratio method for the determination of 241Am in Pu bearing fuel samples.

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Abstract  

234U of high isotopic purity (>99 atom%) as well as of high radiochemical, purity was separated from aged238Pu prepared by neutron irradiation of237Np. Methodologies based on ion exchange and solvent extraction procedures were used to achieve high decontamination factor from238Pu owing to the very high α-specific activity of238Pu (2800 times) in comparison to that of234U. Isotopic composition of purified234U was determined by thermal ionisation mass spectrometry. Alpha spectrometry was used for checking the radiochemical purity of234U with respect to concomitant α-emitting nuclides. The separated234U will be useful for different investigations using mass spectrometry and alpha spectrometry.

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Abstract  

Determination of 238Pu in plutonium bearing fuels is required as a part of the chemical quality assurance of nuclear fuels. In addition, the determination of 238Pu is required in nuclear technology for many other applications, e.g., for developing isotope correlations and while using 238Pu as a spike (tracer) in isotope dilution α-spectrometry (IDAS). This determination usually involves the use of α-spectrometry on purified Pu sample. In view of the random errors associated with the counting statistics and the systematic errors due to (1) in-growth of 241Am in purified Pu sample and (2) tail contribution correction methodology in α-spectrometry, the precision and accuracy obtainable by α-spectrometry are limited. Thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) is generally used for the determination of different Pu isotopes other than 238Pu. This is due to the ubiquitous isobaric interference from 238U at 238Pu in TIMS. Recently, we have carried out studies on the formation of atomic and oxide ions of U and Pu by TIMS and developed a novel approach using interfering element correction methodology to account for the isobaric interference of 238U at 238Pu in TIMS. This methodology is based on the addition of 235U (enrichment >90 atom%) to Pu sample followed by the determination of 238U/235U atom ratio using UO+ ion and determination of Pu isotope ratios using Pu+ ion, from the same filament loading. The TIMS methodology was used for the determination of 238Pu in different Pu samples in U based nuclear fuels from PHWRs with 238Pu content about 0.2 atom%. The 238Pu determination was also carried out using α-spectrometry. This paper reports the results obtained by the two methods and presents the ments and shortcomings of the two approaches.

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Abstract  

Determination of 241Am/243Am ratios is required for vanous purposes including assay of Am by isotope dilution techniques. Alpha-spectrometry on electrodeposited sources is a preferred technique for this determination. However, there is an inherent problem of tail contribution which necessitates the use of suitable algorithms to account for the same. Recently, in the frame of a Coordinated Research Program (CRP) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), WinALPHA software has been developed which is a combination of an asymmetrical Gaussian for the main part of the peak and a low energy function. Therefore, it was of interest to compare the use of this algorithm with the routinely used method, in our laboratory, based on geometric progression (G. P.) decrease. Since, there are no reference materials available commercially for 241Am/243Am ratios, synthetic mixtures covening a wide range (0.3 to 2.0) of 241Am/243Am α-activity ratios were used and un-ignited electrodeposited sources were prepared for α-spectrometry. The α-spectra obtained using PIPS detector, were evaluated using the two algonthms The 241Am/243Am α-activity ratios obtained were also compared with those determined by thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS). An agreement of about 1% was obtained in the 241Am/243Am ratios determined by the two methods and also by using the two algorithms for α-spectrum evaluation.

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Abstract  

This article aims to modify conventional epoxy resin by blending with four different Mannich base oligomers. These oligomers are similar to phenolic resin matrix and simultaneously function as amino curing agent for epoxy matrix. In this context, Mannich base oligomers were prepared, respectively, by Mannich polycondensation reaction of four phenols namely phenol, m-cresol, resorcinol and 1,5-dihydroxy naphthalene, respectively, with formaldehyde and piperazine in presence of acid catalyst. The resulting oligomers were characterized by elemental analysis, spectral studies (IR and NMR), number average molecular mass
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estimated by non-aqueous conductometric titration and thermal stability by thermogravimetric analysis (TG). Each of these oligomers was used in resin matrix as a blending component for the modification of commercial epoxy resin for fabricating glass fibre reinforced laminates. Finally, these laminates were evaluated for their synergetic thermal stability, mechanical properties and chemical resistance to different reagents.
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Abstract  

Experimental evaluation on the use of239Pu spike in Isotope Dilution-Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (ID-TIMS),238Pu spike in Isotope Dilution Alpha Spectrometry (IDAS) and233U as a Non-Isotopic Diluent in Alpha Spectrometry (N-IDAS), for determing plutonium concentration in samples with burn-up values in the range of 1,000–10,000 MWD/TU is done. Precision is determined by analyzing replicate aliquots from different samples using each of the three spikes. Accuracy is established by comparing the results with those obtained by using well recognized spike242Pu in ID-TIMS. It is shown that the use of239Pu spike with the latest generation thermal ionization mass spectrometers gives the best precision (0.2%), whereas the precision values of 0.5 and 1% can be obtained by using238Pu and233U spikes, respectively, on a routine basis. Reasons for the difference in the precision values are discussed, along with the merits and drawbacks on the use of different spike isotopes.

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Abstract  

An experimental evaluation of the recently available passivated ion-implanted detectors, which appear promising for high resolution -spectrometry, is presented in terms of % tail contribution per unit -activity ratio, peak to valley ratio, and resolution /FWHM/. The two IPE detectors with areas of 20 mm2 and 450 mm2 were used for comparing these parameters. It is seen that the smaller area detector provides a better resolution for single nuclide sources, but there is no significant difference for sources containing nuclides with close lying -energies, e.g.,239Pu,240Pu. Further, the large area detector gives less tail contribution and should be preferred to minimize the error in -activity ratio determinations. However, the small area detector offers a possibility of qualitative or semiquantitative determination of nuclides with close lying -energies.

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Abstract  

Investigations have been carried out for the electrodeposition of milligram amounts of uranium on electropolished stainless steel disks with an objective of preparing good quality sources for -spectrometric studies on uranium. The parameters studied include the variation of electrodeposition yield as a function of voltage, time, distance between the cathode and anode, and the volume of 0.2M ammonium oxalate solution. The conditions selected for preparing good quality sources with nearly 100% yield were: electrodeposition voltage 25 V, time of deposition 15 min, volume of 0.2M ammonium oxalate solution in the cell 4 ml and a distance of 2 cm between the cathode and anode. The sources prepared using this method have been used successfully for the -spectrometric determination of234U/238U ratios in uranium samples.

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Abstract  

Experimental evaluation of a commonly used silicon surface barrier detector and of the recently introduced passivated ion implanted detector for alpha spectrometry is reported in terms of FWHM, peak to valley ratio, tail parameter and % tail contribution per unit alpha activity ratio using electrodeposited sources of plutonium prepared on platinum backing material. For this purpose, detectors of nearly the same diameter were employed (100 mm2 silicon surface barrier detector with a diamater of 1.13 cm and 80 mm2 passivated ion implanted silicon detector with a diameter of 1.01 cm). It is shown that the recently introduced passivated ion implanted detectors give smaller tailing effects. But there is no significant difference between the two detectors used in the present work w.r.t. FWHM and peak to valley ratios. Further, it is observed that the peak to valley ratio can be used to get an idea about240Pu/239Pu and241Am/238Pu alpha-activity ratios in the sample.

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