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Title: Shielding concepts for low-background proportional counter arrays in surface laboratories

Abstract

Development of ultra low background gas proportional counters has made the contribution from naturally occurring radioactive isotopes – primarily and activity in the uranium and thorium decay chains – inconsequential to instrumental sensitivity levels when measurements are performed in above ground surface laboratories. Simple lead shielding is enough to mitigate against gamma rays as gas proportional counters are already relatively insensitive to naturally occurring gamma radiation. The dominant background in these surface laboratory measurements using ultra low background gas proportional counters is due to cosmic ray generated muons, neutrons, and protons. Studies of measurements with ultra low background gas proportional counters in surface and underground laboratories as well as radiation transport Monte Carlo simulations suggest a preferred conceptual design to achieve the highest possible sensitivity from an array of low background gas proportional counters when operated in a surface laboratory. The basis for a low background gas proportional counter array and the preferred shielding configuration is reported, especially in relation to measurements of radioactive gases having low energy decays such as 37Ar.

Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1255357
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-106350
Journal ID: ISSN 0969-8043; 400809000
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Applied Radiation and Isotopes; Journal Volume: 108
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
Gas proportional counter system, Cosmic ray shielding, Low background radiation detection, 37Ar

Citation Formats

Aalseth, Craig E., Humble, Paul H., Mace, Emily K., Orrell, John L., Seifert, Allen, and Williams, Richard M. Shielding concepts for low-background proportional counter arrays in surface laboratories. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1016/j.apradiso.2015.12.033.
Aalseth, Craig E., Humble, Paul H., Mace, Emily K., Orrell, John L., Seifert, Allen, & Williams, Richard M. Shielding concepts for low-background proportional counter arrays in surface laboratories. United States. doi:10.1016/j.apradiso.2015.12.033.
Aalseth, Craig E., Humble, Paul H., Mace, Emily K., Orrell, John L., Seifert, Allen, and Williams, Richard M. Mon . "Shielding concepts for low-background proportional counter arrays in surface laboratories". United States. doi:10.1016/j.apradiso.2015.12.033.
@article{osti_1255357,
title = {Shielding concepts for low-background proportional counter arrays in surface laboratories},
author = {Aalseth, Craig E. and Humble, Paul H. and Mace, Emily K. and Orrell, John L. and Seifert, Allen and Williams, Richard M.},
abstractNote = {Development of ultra low background gas proportional counters has made the contribution from naturally occurring radioactive isotopes – primarily and activity in the uranium and thorium decay chains – inconsequential to instrumental sensitivity levels when measurements are performed in above ground surface laboratories. Simple lead shielding is enough to mitigate against gamma rays as gas proportional counters are already relatively insensitive to naturally occurring gamma radiation. The dominant background in these surface laboratory measurements using ultra low background gas proportional counters is due to cosmic ray generated muons, neutrons, and protons. Studies of measurements with ultra low background gas proportional counters in surface and underground laboratories as well as radiation transport Monte Carlo simulations suggest a preferred conceptual design to achieve the highest possible sensitivity from an array of low background gas proportional counters when operated in a surface laboratory. The basis for a low background gas proportional counter array and the preferred shielding configuration is reported, especially in relation to measurements of radioactive gases having low energy decays such as 37Ar.},
doi = {10.1016/j.apradiso.2015.12.033},
journal = {Applied Radiation and Isotopes},
number = ,
volume = 108,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2016},
month = {Mon Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2016}
}