Fission products detection in irradiated TRIGA fuel by means of gamma spectroscopy and MCNP calculation

Appl Radiat Isot. 2018 May;135:123-130. doi: 10.1016/j.apradiso.2018.01.027.

Abstract

Aim of this work was the detection of fission products activity distribution along the axial dimension of irradiated fuel elements (FEs) at the TRIGA Mark II research reactor of the Technische Universität (TU) Wien. The activity distribution was measured by means of a customized fuel gamma scanning device, which includes a vertical lifting system to move the fuel rod along its vertical axis. For each investigated FE, a gamma spectrum measurement was performed along the vertical axis, with steps of 1 cm, in order to determine the axial distribution of the fission products. After the fuel elements underwent a relatively short cooling down period, different fission products were detected. The activity concentration was determined by calibrating the gamma detector with a standard calibration source of known activity and by MCNP6 simulations for the evaluation of self-absorption and geometric effects. Given the specific TRIGA fuel composition, a correction procedure is developed and used in this work for the measurement of the fission product Zr95. This measurement campaign is part of a more extended project aiming at the modelling of the TU Wien TRIGA reactor by means of different calculation codes (MCNP6, Serpent): the experimental results presented in this paper will be subsequently used for the benchmark of the models developed with the calculation codes.

Keywords: Fission product detection; MCNP Monte Carlo code; Research reactor; TRIGA fuel.