Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Development of a High-Energy Neutron Sniffer and Subsequence Dose Quantification for High-Energy Particle Accelerator Shielding Surveys Public Deposited

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  • The objective of this research is to design a portable neutron detector that is lightweight and responds to neutrons with energies of 20 MeV and greater. The instrument will be used as a ‘sniffer’ probe for identifying shielding weaknesses at high-energy particle accelerators and be paired with a plastic scintillator to quantify the high-energy neutron dose equivalent. The sniffer probes are two different sizes and comprised of either cesium iodide or sodium iodide, all doped with thallium, making a total of four detectors. The probes were calibrated to respond only to radiations with 8 MeV electron equivalent energy or higher, vastly reducing detector response from background and lower energy radiations. The sniffer probes were tested using californium-252 and americium-beryllium sources, followed by high-energy (up to 800 MeV) neutron exposures at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center Weapons Neutron Research (WNR) facility. The sniffer probes were then used to identify areas around the accelerator facility where elevated levels of high-energy radiation was present and the plastic scintillators were placed in these locations to determine the high-energy neutron dose equivalent. The dose equivalent is calculated by measuring the 12C(n,2n)11C reaction, which has a 20.4 MeV neutron threshold. Two locations behind the WNR facility were identified with the probes and the dose equivalent rates from neutron energies above 20 MeV were calculated to be 1.24 mrem/h behind flightpath 30-left and 1.53 behind flightpath 30-right. Of the four sniffer probes, the 2-inch x 2-inch cesium iodide is the recommended probe for performing high-energy shielding surveys. The larger crystal size yields higher sensitivity at lower count rates and the more dense material increases the likelihood of interaction within the crystal.
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