Monte Carlo parametric studies of neutron interrogation with the Associated Particle Technique for cargo container inspections
CEA, DEN, Cadarache, Nuclear Measurement Laboratory, F-13108 Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France
The detection of Special Nuclear Materials (SNM) by neutron interrogation is extensively studied by Monte Carlo simulation at the Nuclear Measurement Laboratory of CEA Cadarache (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission). The active inspection system is based on the Associated Particle Technique (APT). Fissions induced by tagged neutrons (i.e. correlated to an alpha particle in the DT neutron generator) in SNM produce high multiplicity coincidences which are detected with fast plastic scintillators. At least three particles are detected in a short time window following the alpha detection, whereas nonnuclear materials mainly produce single events, or pairs due to (n,2n) and (n,n’γ) reactions. To study the performances of an industrial cargo container inspection system, Monte Carlo simulations are performed with the MCNP-PoliMi transport code, which records for each neutron history the relevant information: reaction types, position and time of interactions, energy deposits, secondary particles, etc. The output files are post-processed with a specific tool developed with ROOT data analysis software. Particles not correlated with an alpha particle (random background), counting statistics, and time-energy resolutions of the data acquisition system are taken into account in the numerical model. Various matrix compositions, suspicious items, SNM shielding and positions inside the container, are simulated to assess the performances and limitations of an industrial system.
Key words: Fast neutron analysis / Associated Particle Technique / SNM detection / induced fission particles / Homeland Security
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014