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Momentum informed muon scattering tomography for monitoring spent nuclear fuels in dry storage cask...

by Junghyun Bae, Rosemary A Montgomery, Stylianos Chatzidakis
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Scientific Reports
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Development of an effective monitoring method for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) in a dry storage cask (DSC) is important to meet the increasing demand for dry storage investigations. The DSC investigation should provide information about the quantity of stored SNF, and quality assurance of materials should be possible without opening the cask. However, traditional nondestructive examination (NDE) methods such as x-rays are difficult to deploy for DSC investigation because a typical DSC is intentionally designed to shield against radiation. To address this challenge, cosmic ray muons (CRMs) are used as an alternative NDE radiation probe because they can easily penetrate an entire DSC system; however, a wide application of muons is often hindered due to the naturally low CRM flux (~104 muons/m2/min). This paper introduces a newly proposed imaging algorithm, momentum-informed muon scattering tomography (MMST), and presents how a limitation of the current muon scattering tomography technique has been addressed by measuring muon momentum. To demonstrate its functionality, a commercial DSC with 24 pressurized light water reactor fuel assemblies (FAs) and the MMST system were designed in GEANT4. Three noticeable improvements were observed for MMST system as a DSC investigation tool: (1) a signal stabilization, (2) an enhanced capability to differentiate various materials, and (3) statistically increased precision to identify and locate missing FAs. The results show that MMST improves the investigation accuracy from 79 to 98% when one FA is missing and 51% to 88% when one-half FA is missing. The advancement of the NDE technique using CRM for DSC verification is expected to resolve long-standing problems in increasing demand for DSC inspections and nuclear security.