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The photothermal photodeflection technique is shown to provide information on the homogeneity of fuel pellets, pore distribution, clustering detection of pure urania and gadolinea and to provide a two-dimensional mapping of the thermal diffusivity correlated to the composition of the interdiffused Gadolinium and Uranium oxide. Histograms of the thermal diffusivity distribution become a reliable quantitative way of quantifying the degree of homogeneity and the width of the histogram can be used as a direct measure of the homogeneity. These quantitative measures of the homogeneity of the samples at microscopic levels provides a protocol that can be used as a reliable specification and quality control method for nuclear fuels, substituting with a single test a battery of expensive, time consuming and operator dependent techniques.
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