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Passive, non-intrusive assay of depleted uranium

Parker, H.M.O., Beaumont, J.S., Joyce, M.J.
Journal of hazardous materials 2019 v.364 pp. 293-299
detectors, liquids, neutrons, radionuclides, uranium
The ability to detect neutrons from the spontaneous fission of 238U in samples of depleted uranium with organic liquid scintillation detectors is presented. In this paper we introduce a small modular organic liquid scintillator detector array that can detect changes in mass of 238U between 3.69 g and 14.46 g. To do this, 18-h assays of various masses of 0.3% wt. of depleted uranium dioxide were assessed using four EJ-309 detectors, a mixed field analyser operated in pulse gradient analysis mode, and associated counting components. We observe a background-corrected fast neutron count sensitivity of (2.0 ± 0.3) × 10−4 n g−1 s−1 per detector. This research demonstrates a proof of concept for depleted uranium quantity to be assessed passively on a non-intrusive basis via its spontaneous fission decay.