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Title: Active Well Counting Using New PSD Plastic Detectors

This report presents results and analysis from a series of proof-of-concept measurements to assess the suitability of segmented detectors constructed from Eljen EJ-299-34 PSD-plastic scintillator with pulse-shape discrimination capability for the purposes of quantifying uranium via active neutron coincidence counting. Present quantification of bulk uranium materials for international safeguards and domestic materials control and accounting relies on active neutron coincidence counting systems, such as the Active Well Coincidence Counter (AWCC) and the Uranium Neutron Coincidence Collar (UNCL), that use moderated He-3 proportional counters along with necessarily low-intensity 241Am(Li) neutron sources. Scintillation-based fast-neutron detectors are a potentially superior technology to the existing AWCC and UNCL designs due to their spectroscopic capability and their inherently short neutron coincidence times that largely eliminate random coincidences and enable interrogation by stronger sources. One of the past impediments to the investigation and adoption of scintillation counters for the purpose of quantifying bulk uranium was the commercial availability of scintillators having the necessary neutron-gamma pulse-shape discrimination properties only as flammable liquids. Recently, Eljen EJ-299-34 PSD-plastic scintillator became commercially available. The present work is the first assessment of an array of PSD-plastic detectors for the purposes of quantifying bulk uranium. The detector panel used in the presentmore » work was originally built as the focal plane for a fast-neutron imager, but it was repurposed for the present investigation by construction of a stand to support the inner well of an AWCC immediately in front of the detector panel. The detector panel and data acquisition of this system are particularly well suited for performing active-well fast-neutron counting of LEU and HEU samples because the active detector volume is solid, the 241Am(Li) interrogating neutrons are largely below the detector threshold, and the segmented construction of the detector modules allow for separation of true neutron-neutron coincidences from inter-detector scattering using the kinematics of neutron scattering. The results from a series of measurements of a suite of uranium standards are presented, and compared to measurements of the same standards and source configurations using the AWCC. Using these results, the performance of the segmented detectors reconfigured as a well counter is predicted and outperforms the AWCC.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Safeguards Laboratory
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Country of Publication:
United States