Uranium Enrichment Comparison of UO2 Pellet with Alpha Spectrometry and TIMS

  • Song, Ji-Yeon (Korea Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control) ;
  • Seo, Hana (Korea Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control) ;
  • Kim, Sung-Hwan (Korea Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control) ;
  • Choi, Jung-Youn (Korea Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control)
  • Received : 2018.05.09
  • Accepted : 2018.08.28
  • Published : 2018.09.30


Background: Analysis of enrichment of $UO_2$ is important to verify the information declared by the license-holders. The redundancy methods are required to guarantee the analysis result. Korea Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control (KINAC) used to analyze it with alpha spectrometry and consign to Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI) Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (TIMS). This article evaluated the similarity of the results with two methods and derive correlation equation. It could be compared to the results measured by TIMS running by KBSI. Materials and Methods: There are not many certified materials for the uranium enrichment value. Therefore, 34 uranium pellets, which have the wide range of uranium enrichment from 0.21 to 4.69 wt%, were used for the experiments by the alpha spectrometry and the TIMS. Results and Discussion: The study shows there are the tendency of analyzed enrichment by each equipment. It shows uranium enrichment with alpha spectrometry evaluated 17% higher than that with TIMS on average. The regression equations were also derived in case the similarity between the two results with two methods is lower than predicted. Two experiments were designed to compare the effect of number of samples. The $R^2$ was 0.9977 with 34 pellets. It shows the equation is appropriate to predict the enrichment values by TIMS with that of alpha spectrometry. The $R^2$ was 0.9858 with four pellets for ten times. The $R^2$ decreased while the number of samples increased. The discrepancy between the lowest and highest enrichment seems to be one of the reason for it. Conclusion: KINAC expects the first equation with 34 samples is useful to predict the result with TIMS, the redundancy method, based on the alpha spectrometry. The extra samples are necessary to collect if the enrichment value analyzed by TIMS is lower than the value predicted with the equation. Further study would be followed related to the impact of the peak counts for each uranium isotopes, sample amount and number of experiments when TIMS established in KINAC by the end of 2018.


  1. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Nonproliferation nuclear forensic. LLLNL-CONF-679869. 2015;8.
  2. Cheong CS, Cheong YJ, Son YK, Choi MS, Park BK. Introduction on TIMS and its pretreatment for the chronometry of 238U-230Th in the volcanic rocks. J. Geol. Soc. Korea. 2006;42(3):455-465.
  3. Lee MH, Kim CH, Bu BH. Electrodeposition of alpha-emitting nuclides from ammonium oxalate-ammonium sulfate electrolyte. Bulletin of the Korean Chemical Society. 2000;21(2):175-179.