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Home / Publications / Journals / Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 149 / Number 3

Analysis of the Photoneutron Yield and Thermal Neutron Flux in an Unreflected Electron Accelerator-Driven Neutron Source

Gregory E. Dale, John M. Gahl

Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 149 / Number 3 / March 2005 / Pages 288-297

Technical Paper /

There are several potential uses for a high-flux thermal neutron source in both industrial and clinical applications. The viable commercial implementation of these applications requires a low-cost, high-flux thermal neutron generator suitable for installation in industrial and clinical environments. This paper describes the Monte Carlo for N-Particle modeling results of a high-flux thermal neutron source driven with an electron accelerator. An electron linear accelerator (linac), fitted with a standard X-ray converter, can produce high neutron yields in materials with low photonuclear threshold energies, such as D and 9Be. Results indicate that a 10-MeV, 10-kW electron linac can produce on the order of 1012 n/s in a heavy water photoneutron target. The thermal neutron flux in an unreflected heavy water target is calculated to be on the order of 1010 ncm-2s. The sensitivity of these answers to heavy water purity is also investigated, specifically the dilution of heavy water with light water. It is shown that the peak thermal neutron flux is not adversely effected by dilution up to a light water weight fraction of 35%.

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