Statistical analysis for the radiological characterization of radioactive waste in particle accelerators

Abstract : This thesis introduces a new method to characterize metallic very-low-level radioactive waste produced at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The method is based on: 1. the calculation of a preliminary radionuclide inventory, which is the list of the radionuclides that can be produced when particles interact with a surrounding medium, 2. the direct measurement of gamma emitters and, 3. the quantification of pure-alpha, pure-beta and low-energy X-ray emitters, called difficult-to-measure (DTM) radionuclides, using the so-called scaling factor (SF), correlation factor (CF) and mean activity (MA) techniques. The first stage of the characterization process is the calculation of the radionuclide inventory via either analytical or Monte Carlo codes. Once the preliminary radionuclide inventory is obtained, the gamma-emitting radionuclides are measured via gamma-ray spectrometry on each package of the waste population. The major gamma-emitter, called key nuclide (KN), is also identified. The scaling factor method estimates the activity of DTM radionuclides by checking for a consistent and repeated relationship between the key nuclide and the activity of the difficult to measure radionuclides from samples. If a correlation exists the activity of DTM radiodionuclides can be evaluated using the scaling factor otherwise the mean activity from the samples collected is applied to the entire waste population. Finally, the correlation factor is used when the activity of pure-alpha, pure-beta and low-energy X-ray emitters is so low that cannot be quantified using experimental values. In this case a theoretical correlation factor is obtained from the calculations to link the activity of the radionuclides we want to quantify and the activity of the key nuclide. The thesis describes in detail the characterization method, shows a complete case study and describes the industrial-scale application of the characterization method on over 1’000 m3 of radioactive waste, which was carried out at CERN between 2015 and 2017.
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https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-01739726
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 12:09:09 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 5:01:52 PM
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Biagio Zaffora. Statistical analysis for the radiological characterization of radioactive waste in particle accelerators. Génie civil nucléaire. Conservatoire national des arts et metiers - CNAM, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017CNAM1131⟩. ⟨tel-01739726⟩

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