Skip to main content

A novel approach to partial defect testing of spent nuclear fuel for safeguards applications

The characterisation of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) assemblies via non-destructive assay (NDA) is very important for the implementation of safeguards, in addition to the safety assessment associated to its handling and disposal.

From the safeguards point of view, SNF is a material of particular interest due to its plutonium content. There are about 270,000 tons of SNF worldwide and the annual arising of used fuel is about 12,000 tons. With an estimated total amount of about 2,700 tons of Pu, it is important to verify that no diversion of SNF has taken place with a very good degree of accuracy.

Current methods for the verification of the integrity of the SNF assemblies rely on the detection of the Cherenkov light when the assemblies are located in spent fuel pool; this method is limited to wet storage and the interpretation of the results is not always straightforward. A recently developed method relies on passive gamma emission tomography; it has the potential of an improved accuracy but the system is expensive, bulky and requires the movement of the SNF from the storage position.

This PhD focusses on the development of a method to detect missing pins in a SNF assembly which is both accurate and does not require the movement of fuel. In addition, due to the reduced detector size, the use for different fuel assembly geometries (e.g. PWR, BWR, VVER) is envisaged. The project will be performed via a jointly financed PhD project of a student registered at Chalmers where also (s)he will get the PhD degree.

University CHALMERS
Phd started on


Borella Alessandro


Rossa Riccardo


Pazsit Imre


Al-dbissi Moad

Before applying, please consult the guidelines for application for PhD