Date: October 1, 1995
Creator: Rhodes, E.A.; Bowers, D.L.; Boyar, R.E. & Dickerman, C.E.
Description: An advanced concept proof-of-principle demonstration was successfully performed to show the feasibility of a practical switchable radioactive neutron source (SRNS) that can be switched on and off like an accelerator, but without requiring accelerator equipment such as high voltage supply, control unit, etc. This source concept would provide a highly portable neutron source for field radiation measurement applications. Such a source would require minimal, if any, shielding when not in use. The SRNS, previously patented by Argonne staff, provides a means of constructing the alpha-emitting and light-element components of a radioactive neutron source, in such a fashion that these two components can brought together to turn the source ``on`` and then be separated to turn the source ``off``. An SRNS could be used for such field applications as active neutron interrogation of objects to detect fissile materials or to measure their concentration; and to excite gamma-ray emission for detection of specific elements that indicate toxic chemicals, drugs, explosives, etc. The demonstration was performed using Pu-238 as the alpha emitter and Be as the light element, in an air-atmosphere glovebox having no atmosphere purification capability. A stable, thin film of Pu-238 oxide was deposited on a stainless steel planchet. The ``on`` ...
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