The simultaneous quantification of fissile U and Pu nuclides using delayed neutron activation analysis



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The ability to quickly and accurately quantify fissile constituents in bulk materials remains essential to many aspects of nuclear forensics and for safeguarding nuclear materials and operations. This often entails the analysis of trace quantities of nuclear debris or effluents, and typically requires bulk sample digestion followed by actinide separation and mass spectrometry. Because destructive methods are time and labor intensive, efforts have been made to develop alternative nondestructive methods for this type of analysis. This work, performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), seeks to utilize delayed neutron activation analysis on samples of interest containing multiple fissile constituents. Based on the variances in the fission product yields of individual fissile nuclides, this work utilizes methods of linear regression to derive a technique that allows for such analysis, forgoing chemical separation and using only a single irradiation and counting step.