In order to avoid failures during the operation of a
nuclear power plant under normal and transient
conditions, it is necessary to maintain a high
standard of quality assurance of the fuel components,
especially the fuel pellets enclosed in
zirconium cladding. The current use of manual
inspection by fuel vendors for quality control of the
fabricated fuel pellets is not only time-consuming,
but also exposes the inspection staff to radiation.
Consequently, there is a need for the development
of an automated, real-time fuel rod inspection
technique for better speed and accuracy. This
paper investigates the feasibility of using an X-ray
tomographic inspection technique for detection
and characterization of anomalies in fuel pellets.
Real-time inspection, however, calls for minimizing
data acquisition and processing time; hence, the
tomographic imaging must be performed using a
limited number of projections. A statistical reconstruction
algorithm is presented along with results
on experimental data obtained using a 320 kVp
and 13 mA X-ray source.
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