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Some techniques applied for plutonium measurements in waste drums

B. Autrusson, J.L. Dufour, P. Funk, T. Lambert, N. Pépin, B. Thaurel, ESARDA, 8-10 mai 2001

Summary

In the framework of the French domestic safeguards, nuclear materials such as plutonium are controlled within France by the Institut de Protection et de Sûreté Nucléaire on behalf of the Ministry for Industry. This control, that concerns any kind of material containing plutonium, is also performed for waste produced by operators. Nuclear materials in waste drums may be in relatively weak quantities. The localization of the plutonium in the drum as well as the matrix composition are unknown. Analysis methods may also be disrupted by the presence of "polluting" elements that emit neutrons or photons (curium, neptunium, americium etc.). The detection limit of the measurement devices of as well as the uncertainties on the announced result are then raised. For that reason, the French domestic safeguards attach a particular importance for the characterization of waste: bad estimations of the quantities of nuclear materials would result in a loss of control on these materials. This paper presents the measurement devices (PLUM and FUNE) and the methodology used by IPSN inspectors for the control of plutonium in waste drums.
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