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Advanced neutron irradiation system using Texas A&M University Nuclear Science Center Reactor [electronic resource] /

by Jang, Si Young

Abstract (Summary)
A heavily filtered fast neutron irradiation system (FNIS) was developed for a variety of applications, including the study of long-term health effects of fast neutrons by evaluating the biological mechanisms of damage in cultured cells and living animals such as rats or mice. This irradiation system includes an exposure cave made with a lead-bismuth alloy, a cave positioning system, a gamma and neutron monitoring system, a sample transfer system, and interchangeable filters. This system was installed in the irradiation cell of the Texas A&M University Nuclear Science Center Reactor (NSCR). By increasing the thickness of the lead-bismuth alloy, the neutron spectra were shifted into lower energies by the scattering interactions of fast neutrons with the alloy. It is possible, therefore, by changing the alloy thickness, to produce distinctly different dose weighted neutron spectra inside the exposure cave of the FNIS. The calculated neutron spectra showed close agreement with the results of activation foil measurements, unfolded by SAND-II close to the cell window. However, there was a considerable less agreement for locations far away from the cell window. Even though the magnitude of values such as neutron flux and tissue kerma rates in air differed, the weighted average neutron energies showed close agreement between the MCNP and SAND-II since the normalized neutron spectra were in a good agreement each other. A paired ion chamber system was constructed, one with a tissue equivalent plastic (A-150) and propane gas for total dose monitoring, and another with graphite and argon for photon dose monitoring. Using the pair of detectors, the neutron to gamma ratio can be inferred. With the 20 cm-thick FNIS, the absorbed dose rates of neutrons measured with the paired ion chamber method and calculated with the SAND-II results were 13.7 ± 0.02 Gy/min and 15.5 Gy/min, respectively. The absorbed dose rate of photons and the gamma contribution to total dose were 6.7 x 10?¹ ± 1.3 x10?¹ Gy/min and 4.7%, respectively. However, the estimated gamma contribution to total dose varied between 3.6 % to 6.6 % as the assumed neutron sensitivity to the graphite detector was changed from 0.01 to 0.03.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Texas A&M International University

School Location:USA - Texas

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:major nuclear engineering monte carlo modeling foil activation method fast neutron irradiator paired ion chamber spectrum shifter

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