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Increasing of MERARG Experimental Performances On-line Fission Gas Release Measurement by Mass Spectrometry

Abstract : The MERARG device - implemented at the LECA-STAR Hot Laboratory, at the CEA Cadarache - allows characterizing nuclear fuels with respect to the behaviour of fission gases during thermal transients representative of normal or off normal operating nuclear power plant conditions. The fuel is heated in order to extract a part or the total gas inventory it contains. Fission Gas Release (FGR) is actually recorded by mean of both on-line gamma spectrometry station and micro gas chromatography. These two devices monitor the quantity and kinetics of fission gas release rate. They only address $^{85}$Kr radioactive isotope and the elemental quantification of Kr, Xe and He (with a relatively low detection limit in the latter case, typically 5-10 ppm). In order to better estimate the basic mechanisms that promote fission gas release from irradiated nuclear fuels, the CEA fuel study department decided to improve its experimental facility by modifying MERARG to extend the studies of gamma emitter fission gases to all gases (including Helium) with a complete isotopic distribution capability. To match these specifications, a Residual Gas Analyser (RGA) has been chosen as mass spectrometer. This paper presents a review of the main aspects of the qualification/calibration phase of the RGA type analyser. In particular, results recorded over three mass ranges 1-10 u, 80-90 u and 120-140 u in the two classical mode of MERARG, i.e. on-line and off-line measurements are discussed. Results obtained from a standard gas bottle show that the quantitative analysis at a few ppm levels can be achieved for all isotopes of Kr and Xe, as well as masses 2 and 4 u.
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Y. Pontillon, H. Capdevila, S. Clement, E. Guigues, A. Janulyte, et al.. Increasing of MERARG Experimental Performances On-line Fission Gas Release Measurement by Mass Spectrometry. ANIMMA 2015 - 4th International Conference on Advancements in Nuclear Instrumentation Measurement Methods and their Applications, Apr 2015, Lisbone, Portugal. ⟨10.1109/TNS.2016.2554610⟩. ⟨cea-02509250⟩

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