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Enhanced Photofission-based, Coincidence/Multiplicity Inspection Measurements
James L. Jones, Daren R. Norman, Kevin J. Haskell
Idaho National Laboratory
P.O. Box 1625, MS 2802 Idaho Falls, Idaho 83415-2802
Martyn T. Swinhoe, Steve J. Tobin, William H. Geist,
Robert B. Rothrock, and Cory R. Freeman
Los Alamos National Laboratory
P.O. Box 1663, Los Alamos, NM 87545
An enhanced active interrogation system has been developed that integrates a transportable Idaho
National Laboratory (INL) photonuclear inspection system, using a pulsed bremsstrahlung
source and a reconfigurable neutron detection system, with a Los Alamos National Laboratory
(LANL) list-mode data acquisition system. A series of active interrogation experiments using
various nuclear materials have shown enhanced nuclear material detection and identification
utilizing pulsed photofission-induced, neutron coincidence/multiplicity counting between pulses
of an electron accelerator operating at energies up to 10 MeV. This paper describes the
integrated inspection system and presents some key shielded and unshielded nuclear material
inspection results. The enhanced inspection methodology has applicability to homeland security
and possible nuclear weapon dismantlement treaties.
*This project has been supported by the US Department of Energy Office of Dismantlement and
Transparency under DOE-ID contract number DE-AC07-051D14517.
Efforts began as early as 2007 in assessing the potential advantages of using a Los Alamos
National Laboratory (LANL) list-mode data acquisition system' with multiple Idaho National
Laboratory (INL) Photonuclear Neutron Detectors (PNDs)2 and the INL transportable,
selectable-energy (up to a nominal 10 MeV), pulsed linear electron accelerator3 (that is, the
Varitron). The objective was to assess time-correlated, photofission delayed neutron
measurements between electron accelerator pulses and compare with INL measurements. An
initial passive scoping test in August 2007 showed basic feasibility of using the INL PNDs for
coincident counting and the potential for enhancing the INL active photonuclear inspection
system. The first active test campaign was conducted at INL during April 2008, using a nominal
8-MeV, 125-Hz electron beam operation with ~10 pA average beam current. This first campaign
focused on the detection of induced delayed neutrons between each 4 ps-wide accelerator pulse.
After each accelerator trigger pulse, the data acquisition windows started at 1.9 ms and continued
to 7.67 ms for the INL acquisitions and 400 ps to the next accelerator electron pulse for the
LANL acquisitions. While higher (up to ~10 MeV) nominal energies were possible with this
accelerator, the 8-MeV operation was selected for the initial assessment since it represented a
typical high-energy radiographic device. A second follow-on test campaign was conducted at
INL in May 2009 assessing an enhanced LANL-built, list-mode acquisition system. This second
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Jones, J.L.; Norman, D.R.; Haskell, K.J.; Swinhoe, M.T.; Tobin, S.J.; Geist, W.H. et al. Enhanced Photofission-based, Coincidence/Multiplicity Inspection Measurements, article, July 1, 2010; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc832708/m1/2/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.