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On-line Fission Gas Release Monitoring System in the High Flux Reactor Petten

For HTR fuel irradiation tests in the HFR Petten a specific installation was designed and installed dubbed the “Sweep Loop Facility” (SLF). The SLF is tasked with three functions, namely temperature control by gas mixture technique, surveillance of safety parameters (temperature, pressure, radioactivity etc.) and analysis of fission gas release for three individual capsules in two separate experimental rigs. The SLF enables continuous and independent surveillance of all gas circuits. The release of volatile fission products (FP) from the in-pile experiments is monitored by continuous gas purging. The fractional release of these FP, defined as the ratio between release rate of a gaseous fission isotope (measured) to its instantaneous birth rate (calculated), is a licensing-relevant test for HTR fuel. The developed gamma spectrometry station allows for higher measurement frequencies, thus enabling follow-up of rapid and massive release transients. The designed stand-alone system was tested and fully used through the final irradiation period of the HFR-EU1 experiment which was terminated on 18 February 2010. Its robustness allowed the set up to be used as extra safety instrumentation. This paper describes the gas activity measurement technique based on HPGe gamma spectrometry and illustrates how qualitative and quantitative analysis of volatile FP can be performed on-line.