This paper summarizes efforts to characterize and qualify a computed radiography (CR) system for neutron radiography of irradiated nuclear fuel at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). INL has multiple programs that are actively developing, testing, and evaluating new nuclear fuels. Irradiated fuel experiments are subjected to a number of sequential post-irradiation examination techniques that provide insight into the overall behavior and performance of the fuel. One of the first and most important of these exams is neutron radiography, which provides more comprehensive information about the internal condition of irradiated nuclear fuel than any other non-destructive technique to date. Results from neutron radiography are often the driver for subsequent examinations of the PIE program. Features of interest that can be evaluated using neutron radiography include irradiation-induced swelling, isotopic and fuel-fragment redistribution, plate deformations, and fuel fracturing. The NRAD currently uses the foil-film transfer technique with film for imaging fuel. INL is pursuing multiple efforts to advance its neutron imaging capabilities for evaluating irradiated fuel and other applications, including conversion from film to CR image plates. Neutron CR is the current state-of-the-art for neutron imaging of highly-radioactive objects. Initial neutron radiographs of various types of nuclear fuel indicate that radiographs can be obtained of comparable image quality currently obtained using film. This paper provides neutron radiographs of representative irradiated fuel pins along with neutron radiographs of standards that informed the qualification of the neutron CR system for routine use. Additionally, this paper includes evaluations of some of the CR scanner parameters and their effects on image quality.
Craft, A. E., Papaioannou, G. C., Chichester, D. L., & Williams, W. J. (2017). Conversion from Film to Image Plates for Transfer Method Neutron Radiography of Nuclear Fuel. In Physics Procedia (Vol. 88, pp. 81–88). Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phpro.2017.06.010