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Isotopic characterization and thermal neutron flux determination of a PuBe neutron source.

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      Abstract

      The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur) possesses a PuBe neutron source facility with an initial activity of 5 Ci, dated September 1966 (nearly 50 years ago). An understanding of the present activity and the rate of its change will allow implementation of proper radiological safety procedures and future radiological safety planning. Knowing the absolute neutron flux will help us in future neutron activation studies. These details are also important to ensure proper security precautions. In our work, we attempt to identify the isotopic composition to determine the rate of change of the source and the absolute thermal neutron flux of plutonium beryllium (PuBe) sample at IIT Kanpur. We have used gamma-ray spectroscopy for determining the isotopic composition of the PuBe neutron source. After utilizing gamma-ray spectroscopy it is found that the source is composed of (239)Pu and a small amount of (241)Am is present as an impurity. The mass ratio of (241)Am to (239)Pu is found to be approximately 18.1µg/g with an uncertainty of 1.39%. Delayed gamma neutron activation analysis (DGNAA) is used to determine the thermal neutron flux of the same PuBe neutron source using copper, cobalt, nickel and cadmium samples. The average thermal neutron flux as calculated from DGNAA is approximately 1.27×10(3)n/(cm(2)-s) at 1cm above the PuBe neutron source.

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      Affiliations
      [1 ] Nuclear Engineering and Technology Program, Radiation Detection Laboratory, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur 208016, India. Electronic address: purty@iitk.ac.in.
      [2 ] Nuclear Engineering and Technology Program, Radiation Detection Laboratory, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur 208016, India. Electronic address: akancha@iitk.ac.in.
      [3 ] Nuclear Engineering and Technology Program, Radiation Detection Laboratory, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur 208016, India. Electronic address: shikhap@iitk.ac.in.
      Journal
      Appl Radiat Isot
      Applied radiation and isotopes : including data, instrumentation and methods for use in agriculture, industry and medicine
      Elsevier BV
      1872-9800
      0969-8043
      Jul 2017
      : 125
      28433700
      S0969-8043(17)30020-9
      10.1016/j.apradiso.2017.04.005
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