Post-Irradiation Examination (PIE) and Testing
Publié: 11 janvier 2011
Post-irradiation examinations (PIE) provide fuel vendors and power companies with data on how newly developed or established materials withstand normal operating conditions in new environments. Post-irradiation examinations are largely carried out at the Hot Cell Laboratory where irradiated fuel rods can be received and handled. The investigation results provide information for fuel improvement and, thereby, can potentially enhance operating efficiency and reliability.
The methods for fuel characterization include:
- Visual inspection – an initial inspection of the rod. Defects and damage are documented.
- Puncturing and fission gas analysis – the rod is punctured and the accumulated gas is analyzed using gas mass spectrometry.
- Profilometry measurements – the measurements provide a diameter profile for the rod.
- Eddy current testing – detects any defects that are not visible.
- Eddy current oxide measurement – measurements of the outer oxide thickness.
- Gamma scanning – the activity of selected nuclides is measured as a function of the axial position.
- Light optic and scanning electron microscopy – metallographic and ceramographic studies of cladding and pellets.
- Wavelength dispersive element analysis – quantitative and qualitative element analysis for fuel pellet radial burnup profile.
- ICP-MS – chemical analysis of dissolved fuel specimens.