Report on measurements at Ohio University to estimate backgrounds for neutron radiography in the 10-14 MeV region

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In evaluating the feasibility of neutron radiography and tomography in the 10-14 MeV region, it is important to estimate the radiation backgrounds that could potentially interfere with the measurements. In this context, backgrounds refer to all counts in the detector other than those due to neutrons transmitted through the sample without scattering. There are two principal sources of backgrounds: (1) neutrons and gammas resulting from incident neutrons interacting in the sample, and (2) events in the detector arising from neutrons scattering in the accelerator vault and collimation system, together with natural and induced activation. Counts due to these backgrounds are ... continued below

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8 p. pages

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Dietrich, F. S., LLNL & Hall, James, M. May 10, 1997.

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Description

In evaluating the feasibility of neutron radiography and tomography in the 10-14 MeV region, it is important to estimate the radiation backgrounds that could potentially interfere with the measurements. In this context, backgrounds refer to all counts in the detector other than those due to neutrons transmitted through the sample without scattering. There are two principal sources of backgrounds: (1) neutrons and gammas resulting from incident neutrons interacting in the sample, and (2) events in the detector arising from neutrons scattering in the accelerator vault and collimation system, together with natural and induced activation. Counts due to these backgrounds are spread fairly uniformly across the detector, and therefore do not compromise the ability to identify small features in the sample on the millimeter scale in a tomographic reconstruction; however, they do increase the neutron dose required to achieve sufficient statistical accuracy to reveal features of interest. Backgrounds are generally considered to be tolerable if their count rates are less than or comparable to the rates from the transmitted (uncollided) beam. If they are significantly above this level, they are a potentially serious problem. Understanding radiation backgrounds is thus critically important in determining the required source strength and running time. The backgrounds must be characterized by their energy, radiation type (neutron or gamma), and their timing relative to emission time at the source. These properties may have a profound effect on the design of the source and detector (e.g., whether a pulsing-and-timing technique is necessary to reduce backgrounds, and whether a simple plastic-scintillator based integrating detector will suffice). In the geometry that we have chosen to study, the sample is located approximately two meters from the neutron source, and the detector (a plastic-scintillator neutron-imaging camera; Ref. 1) is located another two meters downstream. A thick shielding wall with a collimating channel approximately 30 cm in diameter is located between the sample and detector to reduce room-scattered backgrounds. We have studied the first source of background (''internal'' or ''sample'' scattering) in this geometry using the COG Monte Carlo radiation transport code, and have found that these backgrounds should be tolerable (the effect of internal scattering should, in fact, be minimized in a system geometry with 2:1 magnification). The second type of background (''external'' or ''room'' scattering and activation) is more difficult to study with a simulation code because these backgrounds are dependent on specific details of a facility that are difficult to know a priori. We have therefore carried out a measurement of these backgrounds in an existing facility, the Ohio University Accelerator Laboratory (OUAL), whose layout closely resembles the system geometry we envisage using for neutron radiography. These measurements were carried out in February, 1996. The results of this experiment indicate that room-scattering and residual activation backgrounds are low enough to allow the use of an integrating plastic-scintillator-based detector in radiographic applications. It appears that neither time gating nor neutron/gamma discrimination will be necessary to obtain satisfactory images. This results in a significant simplification of the requirements for both the neutron source and the detector; however, it is clear that the detector must be placed in a sufficiently well isolated detector cave, and attention must be paid to optimizing the shielding in the neighborhood of the detector. While these measurements were carried out with 10 MeV neutrons from the D+D reaction, it is likely that the results would be similar for 14 MeV neutrons from a D+T source. We currently favor a D+D source for a practical facility, largely because there is no need for handling tritium with this source.

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8 p. pages

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INIS; OSTI as DE00016133

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  • Other Information: Supercedes report DE97053421

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  • Other: DE97053421
  • Report No.: UCRL-ID--127520
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/16133 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 16133
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc622813

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  • May 10, 1997

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  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • May 6, 2016, 3:47 p.m.

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Dietrich, F. S., LLNL & Hall, James, M. Report on measurements at Ohio University to estimate backgrounds for neutron radiography in the 10-14 MeV region, report, May 10, 1997; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc622813/: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.