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Abstract  

A method based on the geometric progression decrease of the counts in the far tail of the alpha spectrum is described for the simultaneous determination of plutonium, americium and curium by alpha spectrometry. For evaluating the precision and accuracy, synthetic mixtures were prepared from solutions of enriched isotopes and sources were prepared by direct evaporation method using tetraethylene glycol /TEG/ as a spreading agent and electropolished stainless steel discs as the backing material. Precision and accuracy of about 1% is demonstrated in the determination of244Cm/239Pu,241Am/239Pu,244Cm/233U,241Am/233U and239Pu/233U alpha activity ratios using a 450 mm2 silicon surface barrier detector.

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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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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  

Determination of239Pu/233U,241Am/233U and244Cm/233U alpha activity ratios is required when using233U as a tracer for the determination of plutonium, americium and curium by alpha spectrometry. Precision and accuracy in the determination of these alpha activity ratios was evaluated by preparing synthetic mixtures from solutions of enriched isotopes of239Pu,241Am,244Cm and233U. Separate synthetic mixtures were prepared for each of the three alpha activity ratios. The sources from the synthetic mixtures were prepared by direct evaporation method using tetra ethylene glycol /TEG/ as a spreading agent, alpha spectra were recorded by employing solid state silicon surface barrier detectors coupled to a 4 K analyzer and the alpha spectra were evaluated by a method based on the geometric progression decrease for the far tail of the spectrum. Large area detector /i.e. 450 mm2/ was observed to reduce the effect of nonhomogeneous distribution, if any, of the two elements present in the source. Precision and accuracy of about 1% is demonstrated for the determination of239Pu/233U,241Am/233U and244Cm/233U alpha activity ratios using large area silicon surface barrier detector.

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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  

A reverse isotope dilution alpha spectrometric /R-IDAS/ method using239Pu as a spike is described for the determination of plutonium concentration in high burn-up fuel samples wth238Pu/(239Pu+240Pu) alpha activity ratio >0.5, without resorting to any purification from241Am and a bulk of other impurities. It involves the addition of a pre-clibrated spike solution to a known aliquot of the plutonium sample solution followed by source preparation using TEG as a spreading agent. The results obtained on a number of plutonium samples containing 20–80% of241Am /alpha activity wise/ using this method are compared with those achieved by R-IDAS using purification with TTA, with respect to precision and accuracy. Precision and accuracy of 0.5% are demonstrated. This method eliminates the need of any separation and purification of plutonium from241Am and a bulk of other impurities like uranium.

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Abstract  

A direct evaporation method is described for the preparation of sources using stainless steel as the backing material and tetraethylene glycol (TEG) as a spreading agent in the presence of large amounts of uranium. It is shown that FWHM and tail contribution at the low energy peak due to energy degradation of the high energy peak can be optimized by heating the source under controlled conditions in a furnace at 500–600°C for about 15 min. An accuracy of 0.5–1% is demonstrated for the determination of238Pu/(239Pu+240Pu) alpha activity ratio in the U/Pu range of 10 to 1500 generally encountered in dissolver solution of irradiated fuel.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: S. Aggarwal, A. Almaula, P. Khodade, A. Parab, R. Duggal, C. Singh, A. Rawat, G. Chourasiya, S. Chitambar, and H. Jain

Abstract  

K-factors (= certified isotope ratio/observed isotope ratio) are determined for the isotope abundance measurements of uranium and plutonium by thermal ionisation mass spectrometry. An mdf of 0.07% and 0.18% per mass unit differing by a factor of about 3, is obtained for uranium and plutonium, respectively, employing double rhenium filament assembly in the ion source and Faraday cup as the detector using the presently available isotopic reference materials of uranium and plutonium.

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