Signatures of Extended Storage of Used Fuel in Casks

Hosted by Dr. Andreas Enqvist

Nuclear Engineering Program Seminar Series

Thursday, October 13, 2016                 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.                Rhines Hall, 125



Eric Rauch

Nuclear Engineering and Nonproliferation Division

Systems Design and Analysis Group

Los Alamos National Laboratory



Signatures of Extended Storage of Used Fuel in Casks



As the amount of used fuel continues to grow, more and more used fuel will be transferred to storage casks.  In order to store these casks, a consolidated storage facility is currently in the planning stages where at least 10,000 MTHM of fuel will be stored.  This site will have potentially thousands of casks once it is operational.  A facility this large presents new safeguards and material accounting concerns.


A new signature based on the distribution of neutron sources and multiplication within casks has been proposed as part of the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy’s Material Protection, Account and Control Technologies (MPACT) campaign.  Each cask has a unique set of fuel, with a unique spread of initial enrichment, burnup, cooling time, and power history.  The unique set of fuel creates a unique signature of neutron intensity based on the arrangement of the assemblies. 


The unique arrangement of neutron sources and multiplication produces a reliable and unique identification of the cask that has been shown to be relatively constant over long time periods.  The work presented here could be used to restore from a loss of continuity of knowledge at the storage site.  This presentation will show the steps used to simulate and form this signature from the start of the effort through its conclusion in September 2016. 



Eric holds a B.S. and M.S. from Texas A&M University in Nuclear Engineering.  His masters research thesis work involved producing a safeguards approach for a graphite moderated reactor and its associated fuel cycle facilities.  In 2009, Eric became a Post Masters student at Los Alamos National Laboratory and was converted to staff later that year.  Eric is currently in the Nuclear Engineering and Nonproliferation Division at LANL, and in the Systems Design and Analysis Group.


During Eric’s time at LANL, he has been the Primary Investigator on several radiation detector design projects with safeguards applications including 2 that have seen in the field use.  He has also contributed to the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative effort and several reactor modeling projects.


Eric lives in Los Alamos with his wife and 4 children.