On Use of Multi-Chambered Fission Detectors for In-Core, Neutron Spectroscopy
Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 66502
Published online: 10 January 2018
Presented is a short, computational study on the potential use of multichambered fission detectors for in-core, neutron spectroscopy. Motivated by the development of very small fission chambers at CEA in France and at Kansas State University in the U.S., it was assumed in this preliminary analysis that devices can be made small enough to avoid flux perturbations and that uncertainties related to measurements can be ignored. It was hypothesized that a sufficient number of chambers with unique reactants can act as a real-time, foilactivation experiment. An unfolding scheme based on maximizing (Shannon) entropy was used to produce a flux spectrum from detector signals that requires no prior information. To test the method, integral, detector responses were generated for singleisotope detectors of various Th, U, Np, Pu, Am, and Cs isotopes using a simplified, pressurized-water reactor spectrum and fluxweighted, microscopic, fission cross sections, in the WIMS-69 multigroup format. An unfolded spectrum was found from subsets of these responses that had a maximum entropy while reproducing the responses considered and summing to one (that is, they were normalized). Several nuclide subsets were studied, and, as expected, the results indicate inclusion of more nuclides leads to better spectra but with diminishing improvements, with the best-case spectrum having an average, relative, group-wise error of approximately 51%. Furthermore, spectra found from minimum-norm and Tihkonov-regularization inversion were of lower quality than the maximum entropy solutions. Finally, the addition of thermal-neutron filters (here, Cd and Gd) provided substantial improvement over unshielded responses alone. The results, as a whole, suggest that in-core, neutron spectroscopy is at least marginally feasible.
Key words: neutron spectroscopy / fission chambers / maximum entropy
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2018
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).