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Title: Moderator Design Studies for a New Neutron Reference Source based on the D-T Fusion Reaction

The radioactive isotope Californium-252 (252Cf) is relied upon internationally as a neutron calibration source for ionizing radiation dosimetry because of its high specific activity. The source may be placed within a heavy-water (D2O) moderating sphere to produce a softened spectrum representative of neutron fields common to commercial nuclear power plant environments, among others. Due to termination of the U.S. Department of Energy loan/lease program in 2012, the expense of obtaining 252Cf sources has undergone a significant increase, rendering high output sources largely unattainable. On the other hand, the use of neutron generators in research and industry applications has increased dramatically in recent years. Neutron generators based on deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion reaction provide high neutron fluence rates and, therefore, could possibly be used as a replacement for 252Cf. To be viable, the 14.6 MeV D-T output spectrum must be significantly moderated to approximate common workplace environments. This paper presents the results of an effort to select appropriate moderating materials and design a configuration to reshape the primary neutron field toward a spectrum approaching that from a nuclear power plant workplace. A series of Monte-Carlo (MCNP) simulations of single layer high- and low-Z materials are used to identify initial candidate moderators. Candidatesmore » are refined through a similar series of simulations involving combinations of 2 to 5 different materials. The simulated energy distribution using these candidate moderators are rated in comparison to a target spectrum. Other properties, such as fluence preservation and/or enhancement, prompt gamma production and other characteristics are also considered.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Radiation Physics and Chemistry, 123:87-96
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Neutron Detector; Calibration; Cf-252; D-T Neutron Generator; Nuclear Power Plant Neutron Spectra; Neutron Dosimetry