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Title: SNM Detection with an Optimized Water Cherenkov Neutron Detector

Abstract

Special Nuclear Material (SNM) can either spontaneously fission or be induced to do so: either case results in neutron emission. For this reason, neutron detection performs a crucial role in the functionality of Radiation Portal Monitoring (RPM) devices. Since neutrons are highly penetrating and difficult to shield, they could potentially be detected escaping even a well-shielded cargo container. If the shielding were sophisticated, detecting escaping neutrons would require a highly efficient detector with close to full solid angle coverage. In 2008, we reported the successful detection of neutrons with a 250 liter (l) gadolinium doped water Cherenkov prototype—a technology that could potentially be employed cost effectively with full solid angle coverage. More recently we have built and tested both 1-kl and 3.5-kl versions, demonstrating that very large, cost effective, non-flammable and environmentally benign neutron detectors can be operated efficiently without being overwhelmed by background. In our paper, we present a new design for a modular system of water-based neutron detectors that could be deployed as a real RPM. The modules contain a number of optimizations that have not previously been combined within a single system. We present simulations of the new system, based on the performance of our previous detectors.more » These simulations indicate that an optimized system such as is presented here could achieve SNM sensitivity competitive with a large 3He-based system. Moreover, the realization of large, cost effective neutron detectors could, for the first time, enable the detection of multiple neutrons per fission from within a large object such as a cargo container. Such a signal would provide a robust indication of the presence of fissioning material, reducing the frequency of false alarms while increasing sensitivity.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1237566
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-540571
Journal ID: ISSN 0168-9002
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-07NA27344
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research. Section A, Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 693; Journal ID: ISSN 0168-9002
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; water Cerenkov; neutron detector; gadolinium; neutron capture

Citation Formats

Dazeley, S., Sweany, M., and Bernstein, A. SNM Detection with an Optimized Water Cherenkov Neutron Detector. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2012.07.026.
Dazeley, S., Sweany, M., & Bernstein, A. SNM Detection with an Optimized Water Cherenkov Neutron Detector. United States. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2012.07.026.
Dazeley, S., Sweany, M., and Bernstein, A. Mon . "SNM Detection with an Optimized Water Cherenkov Neutron Detector". United States. doi:10.1016/j.nima.2012.07.026. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1237566.
@article{osti_1237566,
title = {SNM Detection with an Optimized Water Cherenkov Neutron Detector},
author = {Dazeley, S. and Sweany, M. and Bernstein, A.},
abstractNote = {Special Nuclear Material (SNM) can either spontaneously fission or be induced to do so: either case results in neutron emission. For this reason, neutron detection performs a crucial role in the functionality of Radiation Portal Monitoring (RPM) devices. Since neutrons are highly penetrating and difficult to shield, they could potentially be detected escaping even a well-shielded cargo container. If the shielding were sophisticated, detecting escaping neutrons would require a highly efficient detector with close to full solid angle coverage. In 2008, we reported the successful detection of neutrons with a 250 liter (l) gadolinium doped water Cherenkov prototype—a technology that could potentially be employed cost effectively with full solid angle coverage. More recently we have built and tested both 1-kl and 3.5-kl versions, demonstrating that very large, cost effective, non-flammable and environmentally benign neutron detectors can be operated efficiently without being overwhelmed by background. In our paper, we present a new design for a modular system of water-based neutron detectors that could be deployed as a real RPM. The modules contain a number of optimizations that have not previously been combined within a single system. We present simulations of the new system, based on the performance of our previous detectors. These simulations indicate that an optimized system such as is presented here could achieve SNM sensitivity competitive with a large 3He-based system. Moreover, the realization of large, cost effective neutron detectors could, for the first time, enable the detection of multiple neutrons per fission from within a large object such as a cargo container. Such a signal would provide a robust indication of the presence of fissioning material, reducing the frequency of false alarms while increasing sensitivity.},
doi = {10.1016/j.nima.2012.07.026},
journal = {Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research. Section A, Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment},
number = ,
volume = 693,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {7}
}

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