Neutrons can be used as a tool to study properties of materials and objects. An evolving activity in this field concerns the existence of resonances in neutron induced reaction cross sections. These resonance structures are the basis of two analytical methods which have been developed at the EC – JRC – IRMM: Neutron Resonance Capture Analysis (NRCA) and Neutron Resonance Transmission Analysis (NRTA). They have been applied to determine the elemental composition of archaeological objects and to characterize nuclear reference materials. A combination of NRTA and NRCA together with Prompt Gamma Neutron Analysis, referred to as Neutron Resonance Densitometry, is being studied as a non-destructive method to characterize particle-like debris of melted fuel that is formed in severe nuclear accidents such as the one which occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants. In this contribution the basic principles of NRTA and NRCA are explained based on the experience in the use of these methods at the time-of-flight facility GELINA of the EC–JRC–IRMM. Specific problems related to the analysis of samples resulting from melted fuel are discussed. The programme to study and solve these problems is described and results of a first measurement campaign at GELINA are given.
|Published - 1 Dec 2013