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Integrated neutron/gamma-ray portal monitors for nuclear safeguards

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1 Author(s)
Feblau, P.E. ; Los Alamos Nat. Lab., NM

Radiation monitoring is one nuclear-safeguards measure used to protect against the theft of special nuclear materials (SNM) by pedestrians departing from SNM access areas. The integrated neutron/gamma-ray portal monitor is an ideal radiation monitor for the task when the SNM is plutonium. It achieves high sensitivity for detecting both bare and shielded plutonium by combining two types of radiation detector. One type is a neutron-chamber detector, comprising a large, hollow, neutron moderator that contains a single thermal-neutron proportional counter. The entrance wall of each chamber is thin to admit slow neutrons from plutonium contained in a moderating shield, while the other walls are thick to moderate fast neutrons from bare or lead-shielded plutonium so that they can be detected. The other type of detector is a plastic scintillator that is primarily for detecting gamma rays from small amounts of unshielded plutonium. The two types of detector are easily integrated by making scintillators part of the thick back wall of each neutron chamber or by inserting them into each chamber void. We compared the influence of the two methods of integration on detecting neutrons and gamma rays, and we examined the effectiveness of other design factors and the methods for signal detection as well

Published in:

Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Aug 1994

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