Total reﬂection X-ray ﬂuorescence and energy-dispersive X-ray ﬂuorescence characterizations of nuclear materials
Total reﬂection X-ray ﬂuorescence; energy-dispersive X-ray ﬂuorescence; nucler fuel; trace elements.
Nuclear energy is one of the clean options of electricity generation for the betterment of human life. India has an ambitious program for such electricity generation using different types of nuclear reactors. The safe and efﬁcient generation of electricity from these reactors requires quality control of different nuclear materials, e.g. nuclear fuel, structural materials, coolant, moderators etc. These nuclear materials have to undergo strict quality control and should have different speciﬁed parameters for their use in nuclear reactors. The concentration of major and trace elements present in these materials should be within speciﬁed limits. For such chemical quality control of these materials, major and trace elemental analytical techniques are required. Since some of these materials are radioactive, the ideal chemical characterization techniques should have multielement analytical capability, should require very less sample (micrograms level) for analysis so that the radioactive waste generated, and radiation exposure to the detector and operator are minimum. Total reﬂection X-ray ﬂuorescence (TXRF) and energy dispersive X-ray ﬂuorescence (EDXRF) with improved features, e.g. application of ﬁlters, secondary target and instrumental geometry require very small amount of sample and thus can be suitably used for the characterization of nuclear materials mainly for the determination of elements at trace and major concentration levels. In Fuel Chemistry Division, TXRF analytical methods have been developed for trace element determinations in uranium and thorium oxides, chlorine determination in nuclear fuel and cladding materials, sulphur in uranium, uranium in sea water etc. Similarly, EDXRF analytical methods with radiation ﬁlters (to reduce background) and improved sample preapartion techniques, e.g. fusion bead and taking samples in the form of solution on ﬁlter papers have been used for developing analytical methods for the determination of U and Th in their mixed matrices, Cd in uranium etc. Some ofthese studies have been reported in this paper.