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  • Author or Editor: G. Nicolaou x
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Abstract  

A method is proposed which, through the monitoring and modeling of the diurnal variation of α-radioactivity in the air near the ground, appears with a potential in enhancing the measurement of low radioactivity unexpected peaks over the natural background. Portable field instrumentation was used for the monitoring which further included the total γ-radiation at ground level, the relative humidity and temperature. The variation of the α-radioactivity follows a periodic form with peaks in the morning and in the afternoon. The applicability of a mathematical model to describe this variation of the α-radioactivity in terms of the meteorological variables and the γ-radiation was tested positive. This could reduce the difference between the measured and modeled periodic variation to an almost flat one, above which sudden unexpected peaks of radioactivity from possible undeclared nuclear activities could be easier identified.

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Abstract  

A procedure is demonstrated, through a simulation study, for the determination of the origin of unknown spent nuclear fuel, an important and challenging task in nuclear forensics. The procedure is an isotopic fingerprinting method relying on the fission product content of the unknown. The ‘unknown’ nuclear material is represented by the spent nuclear fuel of known origin in order to demonstrate the method and verify its predictive capabilities. The method is based on the comparison of the fission product compositions of the ‘unknown’ material and simulated known spent fuels from a range of commercial nuclear power stations using the multivariate statistical technique of factor analysis. Then, the provenance of the ‘unknown’ spent fuel is the commercial fuel with which it exhibits the highest similarity with respect to the fission product content.

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Abstract  

The technique of emission tomography employing neutron capture prompt gamma-rays is described. Experiments have been carried out to demonstrate this technique employing a high flux reactor neutron beam using an HPGe detector and a scanning system which incorporates a BBC microcomputer for control, data acquisition, image reconstruction and display. Neutron tomography of the same object was also performed in order to correct the emission tomography results for the neutron flux depression within the sample. The images produced represent the intensity of the induced gamma-ray of interest, and hence the concentration of the isotope of interest.

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Abstract  

When a beam of radiation is used as a probe in order to study the elemental composition of an object, the factors involved in obtaining maximum detection sensitivity include target homogeneity, beam uniformity and the solid angle subtended between target and detector. Here we have investigated, both theoretically and experimentally, the significance of these factors in an experimental facility for in-vitro prompt gamma-ray neutron activation analysis and an arrangement used in in-vivo activation analysis. The correction factor to the solid angle, to account for non-uniformity, and the optimisation of reaction rate and solid angle are considered.

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Abstract  

A transportable neutron radiography system, incorporating a 50 mg 252Cf source, has been simulated using the MCNPX code. The materials considered were compatible with the European Union Directive on ‘Restriction of Hazardous Substances’ (RoHS) 2002/95/EC, hence excluding the use of cadmium and lead. The design was optimized with respect to neutron moderation, shielding and collimation. High density polyethylene was chosen as the material for moderator and also shielding, which was further enhanced with layers of bismuth and borated polyethylene. Variable values for the collimator ratio were calculated. With suitable aperture and collimator design it was possible to optimize the neutron radiography parameters. Beam filters also were treated in order to improve the results. The proposed system has been considered with a wide range of radiography parameters, which are comparable with neutron radiography facilities from low power reactors.

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Abstract  

A Prompt Gamma Ray Neutron Activation Analysis (PGNAA) system, incorporating an isotopic neutron source has been simulated using the MCNPX Monte Carlo code. In order to improve the signal to noise ratio different collimators and a filter were placed between the neutron source and the object. The effect of the positioning of the neutron beam and the detector relative to the object has been studied. In this work the optimisation procedure is demonstrated for boron. Monte Carlo calculations were carried out to compare the performance of the proposed PGNAA system using four different neutron sources (241Am/Be, 252Cf, 241Am/B, and DT neutron generator). Among the different systems the 252Cf neutron based PGNAA system has the best performance.

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