THERMOCOAX rhodium SPND sensitivity dispersion and validation of the sensitivity calculation model
L. Vermeeren and W Leysen are with the Nuclear Research Centre SCK•CEN,B-2400, Mol, Belgium (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
L. Pichon, V. Salou and G. Helleux are with Thermocoax, 8 Rue du Pré Neuf, 61100 St Georges des Groseillers, France
Published online: 20 January 2020
This paper describes the neutron irradiation tests of 7 THERMOCOAX Self-Powered Neutron detectors (SPNDs) in the BR1 reactor at SCK•CEN. The SPNDs were fabricated according to the same specifications, but from different fabrication batches. The SPND signals were recorded during stepwise power-up of the reactor, proving the linearity of the SPND response within a wide thermal neutron flux range: from as low as 0.8·109 n/(cm2) to 2.6·1011 n/(cm2s). Intercomparison of the SPND signals shows a very small spread, confirming the repeatability of the THERMOCOAX fabrication processes. The overall neutron sensitivities of the seven SPNDs agreed within a 1% margin.
The experimental data were analyzed in terms of prompt and various delayed responses. Prompt contributions to the signal are due to external gamma induced processes and to processes involving gamma rays emitted instantaneously upon neutron capture. The main contribution in a rhodium SPND is due to activation of the rhodium emitter and beta emission during decay of the activated rhodium and leads to a delayed response with a characteristic time of a few minutes. Activation and subsequent beta decay in other materials present in the SPND lead to additional minor delayed signal contributions. The partial SPND sensitivities due to all these processes were calculated using an MCNPX based model and were compared with experimental sensitivities based on the recorded data. The results were in fair agreement; for the overall SPND neutron sensitivity an agreement within a 1% margin was achieved.
Key words: Nuclear measurements / neutron detectors / pulse shape discrimination / reactor instrumentation / modelling
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2020
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