Rotation-invariant rapid TRISO-fueled pebble identification based on feature matching and point cloud registration

Ming Fang, Angela Di Fulvio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Pebble-bed reactor (PBR) utilizing TRISO-fueled pebbles is a promising Gen-IV reactor design due to its inherent safety and thermal efficiency. Identification of pebbles exiting the core may provide IAEA with additional information enhancing PBR safeguards help validate software predicting pebble flow behavior and burnup, and optimize fuel usage strategies should granular fuel management be needed. We propose a rapid, accurate pebble identification method applicable to commercial PBRs. Our approach relies on the unique spatial distribution of TRISO particles associated with each pebble, which can be extracted through X-ray CT. We developed an algorithm to identify a single pebble from 100,000 pebbles and achieved 100% identification accuracy in 90,000 trials, with arbitrary rotations and high noise levels. Remarkably, the outermost TRISO particle positions within a 0.6-mm shell suffice for unique identification. With an average identification time of under 50 s per pebble, our method is compatible with PBR operational demands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110527
JournalAnnals of Nuclear Energy
StatePublished - Aug 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Feature matching
  • Go-ICP
  • PBR
  • Point cloud registration
  • Rotation invariant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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