Novel passive and active tungsten-based identifiers for maintaining the continuity of knowledge of spent nuclear fuel copper canisters
Journal article, 2014
A new approach to provide a long-term safeguards identification of spent nuclear fuel containers, in particular copper canisters, is presented in this paper. The approach proposes the use of a tungsten insert marked with a binary code and placed inside the container. The insert is read with a combination of two independent techniques, radiation and ultrasonic measurements, in order to get a unique identification of the cask. Passive and active versions of the tag are considered. The passive version makes use of the radiation coming from the spent nuclear fuel itself. The active version of the tag is based on the use of an artificially introduced mixture of α-emitting isotopes, such as 241Am with materials, 11B and 23Na, which easily undergo α-induced reactions with emission of specific γ-lines, 2313 keV and 1809 keV, respectively. The paper discusses results of the radiation and ultrasonic measurements and Monte-Carlo evaluations as the first proof of the concept. The results of the investigations show the strong potential for this concept to maintain the continuity of knowledge of spent nuclear fuel copper canisters for a time scale up to a few thousands years without compromising the environmental safety of the casks.
Labeling and tagging