There are currently no plans for the commercial reprocessing of nuclear fuel in the U.S. This is not the case in Japan, England, France, Germany, or the USSR. The U.S. does, however, include the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel as a part of its defense programs. The Office of Safeguards and Security of DOE's Defense Programs has funded the development and optimization of numerous nondestructive analysis techniques including K-edge x-ray fluorescence analysis. This paper reviews some of the implementation efforts resulting from R&D supported by that office.
In 1979, the concept of using K-edge x-ray fluorescence analysis (K XRFA) for the analysis of actinide solution concentrations was first presented. K XRFA using small radioactive Co-57 sources has been shown to be a practical way to measure actinide solution concentrations in offline, at-line, or on-line configurations. The experimental methodology is elegant and the hardware is simple.