Title: A Method for Detection of SNM by Pulsed Neutron Interrogation
Publisher: Institute of Nucelar Materials Management (INMM)
Publication Year: 2014
JRC N°: JRC94377
URI: http://www.inmm.org/55th_INMM_Annual_Meeting/4485.htm
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: We present a method for the detection of special nuclear materials (SNM) in shielded containers which is both sensitive and applicable under field conditions. The method uses an external pulsed neutron source to induce fission in SNM and subsequent detection of the fast prompt fission neutrons. The detectors surrounding the container under investigation are liquid scintillation detectors able to distinguish gamma rays from fast neutrons by means of the pulse shape discrimination method (PSD). One advantage of these detectors, besides the ability for PSD analysis, is that the analogue signal from a detection event is of very short duration (typically few tens of nanoseconds). This allows the use of very short coincidence gates for the detection of the prompt fission neutrons in multiple detectors while benefiting from a low accidental (background) coincidence rate yielding a low detection limit. Another principle advantage of this method derives from the fact that the external neutron source is pulsed. By proper time gating the interrogation can be conducted by epithermal and thermal source neutrons only. These source neutrons do not appear in the fast neutron signal following the PSD analysis thus providing a fundamental method for separating the interrogating source neutrons from the sample response in form of fast fission neutrons. The paper describes laboratory tests with a configuration of eight detectors in the Pulsed Neutron Interrogation Test Assembly (PUNITA). The sensitivity of the coincidence signal to fissile mass is investigated for different sample and configurations and interrogation regimes. For the purpose of estimating performance values for a scaled-up facility for investigation of air cargo, Monte Carlo simulations of both the experimental configuration and the scaled-up facility were carried out. Preliminary results of this study are also reported.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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