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Inventory Analysis

Understanding the nature of emitted radiation

Information regarding the nature of radiation emitted from radioactive materials is absolutely crucial to any work performed regarding radioactive materials. Naturally, work with radioactive materials is a large and encompassing field and as such, there are a huge number of applications for inventory analysis, from advising radioactive waste storage options and calculating the influence of decay heat on transport flasks, to calculating the dominant isotopes driving residual dose rates in research facilities.

What is Inventory Analysis?

Inventory analysis is the analysis of radioactive waste products, analysis of nuclear fuel history and/or the analysis of materials subject to activation (induced radioactivity) with a view to documenting radionuclide fingerprints, gamma/neutron radiation emission spectra and/or decay heat output.

These can include analysis of radioactive waste disposal records, fuel history (pre-irradiation, irradiation and post-irradiation) and material specifications of components. This information can then be used in calculations such as burn-up calculations, decay calculations, activation calculations or any combination of these in order to obtain fingerprints, emission spectra and heat output.

Why is Inventory Analysis Important?

Because it is the inventory information that characterises fingerprints, source terms and fissile material content of any radioactive material, it underpins process design, shielding design, waste strategy, decommissioning strategy, criticality safety and radiation safety. Furthermore, it can influence many other, wider facets of design of processes, operations, facilities and components. For example, shielding design can have a significant influence on the civil structure of a facility, or heat output can have a significant impact on HVAC design or component specification via thermal tolerance.

With specific regards to criticality safety, radiation safety and thermal requirements for transport containers, there are often strict regulatory requirements that must be complied with. Ensuring that these can be complied with requires understanding of the pertinent inventories of radioactive material associated with a project.

It is therefore crucial that an appropriate inventory is derived and characterised with respect to the key quantities pertinent to a particular project in order to ensure that a design or process can fulfil its design brief effectively and safely. Furthermore, significant value can be added to a project by ensuring that inventory analysis is used where required in support of component specification, waste and effluent arisings predications and optimisation of civil and shielding design.

TÜV SÜD Services

TÜV SÜD can offer a range of serviced to support isotope production research, including:

  • Waste inventory analysis – Analysis of processes, disposal records and other logs in order to derive suitable radionuclide inventories upon which to base a project design and specification.
  • Burn-up and Decay Calculations – Calculations to simulate fuel history in order to determine spent fuel inventory. Decay of radionuclide fingerprints to specific dates or for specific times.
  • Calculation of residual dose rates and residual isotope inventories – Simulations can also be used to estimate residual dose rates between operations and residual radioactive waste inventories from, for example, activated components and coolant.
  • Calculation of residual dose rates and residual isotope inventories – Simulations can also be used to estimate residual dose rates between operations and residual radioactive waste inventories from, for example, activated components and coolant.
  • Radioactive waste strategy and decommissioning planning TÜV SÜD’s radwaste team can offer expert advice in all aspects of radioactive waste management strategy from minimising the production of waste to the development of waste management strategies.

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