In-Process Monitoring of Molten Salt Composition by Voltammetry and Automated Sampling-Based Techniques

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Nathaniel C. Hoyt - Argonne National Laboratory
Cari A. Launiere - Argonne National Laboratory
Elizabeth A. Stricker - Argonne National Laboratory
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Currently, material accountancy for in-process nuclear materials requires a significant amount of sampling and destructive analysis in a laboratory. However, there is a growing interest in reducing the reliance on laboratory analysis by using near real-time process monitoring data to draw safeguards conclusions. This safeguards paradigm will be particularly valuable for molten salt reprocessing facilities, which have highly complex material flows and cannot implement an accountancy tank as is used at aqueous reprocessing plants. Argonne National Laboratory, with support from the Materials Protection, Accounting, and Control Technologies (MPACT) program within the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy, is developing a suite of tools to enable process monitoring, material tracking, and pattern recognition for molten salt safeguards. The new tools include a sampling loop platform for sample extraction and on-line optical analysis and electrochemical tools for in-situ salt characterization. The sampling loop platform has undergone preliminary testing, and the electrochemical tools have been demonstrated to provide stable, accurate measurements over long durations in engineering-scale process equipment. Development and testing efforts for these new capabilities are reported herein along with a discussion of remaining technology gaps.