10B+ZnS(Ag) as an alternative to 3He-based detectors for Radiation Portal Monitors
1 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Departamento de Ingeniería Energética, José Gutierrez Abascal, 2, 28006, Madrid, Spain
2 Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Unidad Académica de Estudios Nucleares, Ciprés 10, 98068, Zacatecas, Zac., Mexico
3 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Laboratorio de Ingeniería Nuclear, C. Prof. Aranguren 3, 28040, Madrid, Spain
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Published online: 25 September 2017
Typical radiation portal monitor systems, RPM, deployed to detect illicit trafficking of radioactive materials include a set of gamma-ray detectors and neutron detectors. Usually the employed neutron detectors are pressurized 3He-based neutron detectors tubes. Due the shortage of 3He reported since 2009, the amount of 3He available for use in gas proportional counter neutron detectors has become limited, while the demand has significantly increased, especially for homeland security applications. For this reason, many different alternatives are being investigated for its use in RPM systems. The aim of this work is to study a scintillation detector ZnS(Ag) mixed with highly enriched 10B, 10B+ZnS(Ag). Using Monte Carlo methods, MCNPX code, the response of two neutron detectors based on 10B+ZnS(Ag), manufactured by BridgePort Instruments LLC with different geometries, were estimated by calculating the number of 10B(n,α)7 Li reactions for 29 monoenergetic neutron sources. Measurements and models were made, and both detectors were compared. The importance of the distance with respect to the ground was studied. The response with a 252Cf moderated neutron source (0.5 cm lead and 2.5 cm polyethylene) was calculated in order to compare with other studied alternatives in the USA by Pacific National Northwest Laboratory, PNNL. With these results we conclude that neutron detectors using 10B+ZnS(Ag) are an interesting alternative for replacing 3He detectors. From the analysis with MCNPX we propose an improvement in the detector design.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2017
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