TitleQuantification of Reactor Kinetics Parameters during Reactor Transients using Cherenkov Light and Auxiliary Application to Nuclear Safeguards
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsHolschuh, T
UniversityOregon State University
CityCorvallis, Or.
Thesis TypeDissertation

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the leading organization for monitoring nuclear facilities worldwide, and the Agency’s methods are constantly developing and improving in an effort to more effectively safeguard nuclear material. As such, the IAEA addresses near and long term risks in order to advance the capabilities of the IAEA inspectors to identify quantities of diverted material, known as defects. Advanced techniques enable the inspectors to decrease the uncertainty in measurements, which translates to smaller detectable defects. Recently, digital-imaging techniques for qualitative inspections of irradiated fuel using Cherenkov light measurements have advanced the Agency’s ability to perform verification measurements following discharge of the fuel from power reactor facilities. However, one area that continues to be difficult for the IAEA is the non-invasive, in-core inspection of research reactors with the objective of verifying the quantity of fissile isotopes. Current techniques do not quantify the relative fissile material content and cannot characterize a reactor during operations, limiting their value for safeguards and nuclear material accountancy. Research reactors are typically smaller in size than power reactors, so identifying defects is innately more difficult. This study seeks to leverage existing optical measurement technology by assembling a new detecting method, the Cherenkov Radiation Assay for Nuclear Kinetics (CRANK) system, to identify and characterize Cherenkov light in an operating research reactor and to relate this signature to the quantity of fissile material in the reactor.