The US Department of Energy has embarked on a series of tests of TRISO-coated particle reactor fuel intended for use in the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) as part of the Advanced Gas Reactor (AGR) program. The AGR-1 TRISO fuel experiment, currently underway, is the first in a series of eight fuel tests planned for irradiation in the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) located at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The AGR-1 experiment reached a peak compact averaged burn up of 9% FIMA with no known TRISO fuel particle failures in March 2008. The burnup goal for the majority of the fuel compacts is to have a compact averaged burnup greater than 18% FIMA and a minimum compact averaged burnup of 14% FIMA. At the INL the TRISO fuel in the AGR-1 experiment is closely monitored while it is being irradiated in the ATR. The effluent monitoring system used for the AGR-1 fuel is the Fission Product Monitoring System (FPMS). The FPMS is a valuable tool that provides near real-time data indicative of the AGR-1 test fuel performance and incorporates both high-purity germanium (HPGe) gamma-ray spectrometers and sodium iodide [NaI(Tl)] scintillation detector-based gross radiation monitors. To quantify the fuel performance, release-to-birth ratios (R/B’s) of radioactive fission gases are computed. The gamma-ray spectra acquired by the AGR-1 FPMS are analyzed and used to determine the released activities of specific fission gases, while a dedicated detector provides near-real time count rate information. Isotopic build up and depletion calculations provide the associated isotopic birth rates. This paper highlights the features of the FPMS, encompassing the equipment, methods and measures that enable the calculation of the release-to-birth ratios. Some preliminary results from the AGR-1 experiment are also presented.

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