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Applied Radiation and Isotopes 68 (2010) 1915–1921

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Monte-Carlo investigation of radiation beam quality of the CRNA neutron

irradiator for calibration purposes
Hakim Mazrou a,n, Tassadit Sidahmed a, Malika Allab b
Centre de Recherche Nucléaire d’Alger (CRNA), 02 Boulevard Frantz, Fanon, B.P. 399, Alger  RP 16000, Algérie
Faculté de Physique, Université des Sciences et de la Technologie de Houari-Boumediene (USTHB), 16111, Alger, Algérie

a r t i c l e in fo abstract

Article history: An irradiation system has been acquired by the Nuclear Research Center of Algiers (CRNA) to provide
Received 19 July 2009 neutron references for metrology and dosimetry purposes. It consists of an 241Am–Be radionuclide
Accepted 18 April 2010 source of 185 GBq (5 Ci) activity inside a cylindrical steel-enveloped polyethylene container with
radially positioned beam channel. Because of its composition, filled with hydrogenous material, which
Keywords: is not recommended by ISO standards, we expect large changes in the physical quantities of primary
Neutron field importance of the source compared to a free-field situation.
Beam quality Thus, the main goal of the present work is to fully characterize neutron field of such special
Area dosimeter delivered set-up. This was conducted by both extensive Monte-Carlo calculations and experimental
Ambient dose equivalent
measurements obtained by using BF3 and 3He based neutron area dosimeters. Effects of each
Neutron fluence
component present in the bunker facility of the Algerian Secondary Standard Dosimetry Laboratory
(SSDL) on the energy neutron spectrum have been investigated by simulating four irradiation
configurations and comparison to the ISO spectrum has been performed. The ambient dose equivalent
rate was determined based upon a correct estimate of the mean fluence to ambient dose equivalent
conversion factors at different irradiations positions by means of a 3-D transport code MCNP5.
Finally, according to practical requirements established for calibration purposes an optimal
irradiation position has been suggested to the SSDL staff to perform, in appropriate manner, their
routine calibrations.
& 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction appropriate equipment as well as qualified personnel to perform

the necessary steps for establishing this reference.
The development of neutron reference radiations according For more details, a relevant paper (Schuhmacher, 2004)
to the International Organization For Standardization ISO-8529 summarizes the basic principles to produce neutron reference,
(ISO-8529/1) (2001) is rather an arduous task in Secondary the metrology required to characterize such radiation fields
Standard Laboratories compared to that of X-ray and gamma including the calibration procedures used. As stated in this paper,
reference radiations. Several ways of producing neutron reference the use of radionuclide neutron sources requires relatively small
radiations exist, one of which is based upon radionuclide sources. efforts. Neutrons are produced by a nuclide showing spontaneous
The suitable sources commonly used by laboratories engaged in fission like 252Cf or by (a, n) reaction. The most common source
routine calibration of neutron measuring devices present an ISO- of the latter type is 241Am–Be. The advantage of 252Cf sources
recommended neutron field. They are characterized by wide compared to (a, n) ones is their high specific activity. However,
energy spectra and are useful for the calibration of neutron their disadvantage exists in their short half-life of 2.65 years,
measuring devices at neutron field workplaces. Specific to of the which often requires an additional financial support to replace
neutron particle, its energy-dependent interaction mechanisms them frequently and a substantial effort to characterize the newly
with matter are very complex over the large energy range acquired neutron source.
commonly used for radiation protection purposes spreading from Consequently, in an attempt to develop this neutron reference,
thermal up to 20 MeV. It always requires great efforts, special and the Algerian Secondary Standards Dosimetry Laboratory (SSDL) of
CRNA has acquired an irradiation system OB 26/2 manufactured
by AEA-TECHNOLOGY/GmbH (STS, 1998). This irradiation system
based on a 241Am–Be source was intended to upgrade the SSDL
Corresponding author. Tel.: + 213 21 43 44 44; fax: + 213 21 43 42 80. capabilities by offering to its clients a wide range of quality
E-mail addresses:, (H. Mazrou). services, especially the calibration of neutron measuring devices

0969-8043/$ - see front matter & 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1916 H. Mazrou et al. / Applied Radiation and Isotopes 68 (2010) 1915–1921

including irradiations of personal dosimeters. Ideally, this source

should be free-in-air to comply with ISO standards recommenda-
tions. That means that the device should be placed in a radiation
field of known spectrum and fluence rate and its response or
calibration factor should not be a function of the calibration
facility or experimental techniques employed. Unfortunately, the
delivered set-up does not comply with ISO requirements due to
the biological protection provided with the neutron source.
Hence, because of the presence of hydrogenous protection
material, large changes are expected in the energy spectrum
compared to the free-in-air situation.
Thus, the objective of the present work is to characterize the
spectra resulting from the delivered set-up at different source-
detector-distances (SDD), emphasizing on selected irradiation
positions. Besides, dosimetric characteristics of these fields will
also be determined.
Among the consulted literature, three approaches were
proposed to characterize efficiently such neutron fields; the first
one is based on measurements using a variety of spectrometers
namely a Bonner sphere set and/or proton recoil proportional
counters (Lebreton et al., 2007); the second one is based on
Monte-Carlo calculations (Lacoste and Gressier, 2004) considered
these last years as a reliable computational method; the third
approach is a combination of both measurements and Monte-
Carlo calculations (Gallego et al., 2004; Lacoste et al., 2004;
Magalotti et al., 2007; Tagziria et al., 2003, 2004).
In this study, to investigate all the characteristics of the Fig. 2. Structural geometry of the SSDL calibration room (dimensions are in cm).
neutron beam of the delivered set-up, the Monte-Carlo approach
has been adopted using the state of the art MCNP5 (MCNP5, 2003) source is radially positioned along the beam channel. The channel
computer code. In addition, experimental neutron dose equivalent of 15 cm diameter is closed with a polyethylene stopper, which
measurements using two types of neutron area dosimeters based has to be removed before starting calibration. An Amersham
on boron trifluoride BF3 (Studsvik 2202D and 2222 A) and 3He International PLC X14 capsule with its three pellet-source (AEA,
(Berthold LB6411) have also been achieved. 2000) of 241Am–Be (a, n) of 185 GBq global activity (5 Ci), is
mounted within the irradiator. The source is doubly encapsulated
in welded stainless steel of 1.2 mm thickness. The outer
dimensions of the capsule are 60 mm long and 30 mm in
2. Description of the CRNA-SSDL neutron calibration facility
diameter. The radioactive source is placed in a vertically
241 positioned channel and is lifted into the irradiation position by
2.1. Characteristics of the Am–Be neutron source and its OB/26
means of motor drive. The source irradiation position is about
1.10 m above the floor.

The irradiator system, under consideration, is described in

Fig. 1. It provides biological protection against the radiation 2.2. Calibration room
produced by the 241Am–Be neutron source. It consists mainly of a
cylindrical polyethylene (rPE ¼0.92 g/cm3) container enveloped The irradiator has been installed in the center of the X-ray
with thin layers of lead (rPb ¼11.3 g/cm3), cadmium (rCd ¼8.6 g/cm3) room of the Secondary Standards Dosimetry Laboratory (Radi-
and stainless steel (rSS ¼7.9 g/cm3), successively. The neutron ological Physics Division, CRNA). The structural geometry of the
SSDL calibration room is depicted in Fig. 2. This room is about
13.40 m long, 7.70 m wide and 3.84 m high, with 52 cm thick
concrete shielding walls, floor and ceiling. The room has a double
door of 2.15 m high and 1.30 m wide. This door consists of a lead
slab of 2.2 cm thickness sandwiched between two sheets of
stainless steel of 1.5 cm thickness. The stand for positioning the
device to be calibrated is a wood trolley.

3. Monte-Carlo modeling of the Am–Be neutron source

3.1. MCNP5 computational assumptions

The Monte-Carlo code MCNP5 (version 2.1) (MNCP5, 2003)

was employed to simulate the delivered set-up using realistic
details given by the manufacturer. The simulation was based
upon ENDF-B/VI neutron cross section library and on the S(a, b)
treatment of the thermal scattering for hydrogen bounded in
Fig. 1. General view of Am–Be neutron calibrator OB 26/2 (STS, 1998). polyethylene ( In the calculations the source term was
H. Mazrou et al. / Applied Radiation and Isotopes 68 (2010) 1915–1921 1917

taken to conform to that recommended by ISO-8529 (ISO-8529/1, contribution is estimated through the configurations 3–4
2001), which represents the neutron energy distribution of a (Conf_4). The dosimetric quantity has been calculated at different
lightly encapsulated 241Am–Be source. SDD (100–400 cm with 50 cm steps) and new values of the mean
The MCNP5 results, given per emitted particle, are multiplied fluence-to-ambient dose equivalent conversion factors appropri-
by the global emission rate of the source corrected for the decay ate for the SSDL beam spectrum at each irradiation position have
to the date of measurements. In addition, a conservative been estimated by means of MCNP5 taking into account the
uncertainty of 710% has been assumed in the total neutron recommended ICRP-74 (International Commission on Radiological
emission rate by the manufacturer. Protection ICRP-74, 1995) factors.
The materials used for MCNP5 modeling, as shown in Fig. 1,
consist mainly of: 241Am–Be neutron source, X14 capsule, 4. Area dosimeter measurements
polyethylene, air, lead, cadmium, stainless-steel of 304 type of
the OB/26 container and wall concrete. The elemental composi-
Measurements were performed using two types of neutron
tion (weight percentage) of air is assumed to be N (75.53%),
rate dosimeters: Studsvik 2202D and 2222 A which consist of a
O (23.18%), Ar (1.28%) and C (0.01%), with a mass density of
BF3 proportional counter tube surrounded by a cylindrical
1.2048  10  3 g/cm3. The material composition (weight percen-
polyethylene shield of 21.5 cm diameter and a Berthold LB6411
tage) of wall concrete is assumed to be H (11.7%), O (60.8%) and
based on 3He counter surrounded by a spherical polyethylene
Si (27.5%), with a mass density of 2.3 g/cm3. The polyethylene 00
shield of 10 (25.4 cm) diameter.
(CH2)n was assumed to be C (85.7%) and H (14.3%) with a mean
Both measuring instruments are intended for radiation
mass density of 0.92 g/cm3.
protection applications as well as for continuous monitoring of
The neutron fluence energy distribution was calculated using a
levels of neutron radiations in workplaces where permanent dose
point detector flux tally (F5), with a 20 cm diameter exclusion
monitoring is required. These instruments measure the neutron
volume at the irradiation positions. For the purpose of this work,
dose rate in the energy range from thermal to nearly 20 MeV. In
thermal neutrons are the particles below the ‘cadmium cut-off
addition, they have a low sensitivity to gamma radiation. The dose
energy’, i.e. 0.414 eV. During MCNP5 calculations, an appropriate
rates are recorded in a dial provided with a needle indicating
energy bin structure has been adopted. It consists of three (03)
measurements in case of Studsvik 2202D and in a digital form in
log-equidistant bins per decade to cover the first large interval of
case of Studsvik 2222A and Berthold LB6411.
energy (0.414 eV–0.11 MeV) considered in ISO-8529/1 (ISO-8529/1,
Measurements were made at different distances to the neutron
2001). Again, the same bin structure was adopted for the thermal
source. Distances were estimated from the center of the 241Am–Be
energy interval (o0.414 eV). The dosimetric quantities were
neutron source to the effective center of the detector which was
calculated using the recommended ICRP-74 (International Commis-
taken, for the Studsvik, at 901 neutron incidence on its cylindrical axis.
sion on Radiological Protection ICRP-74, 1995) fluence-to-dose
More than 20 values were recorded with a good counting
conversion factors and the (DE, DF) MCNP5 cards.
statistics for each source-detector distance by each area dosi-
meter used to ensure the control of stability of the detector during
3.2. Monte-Carlo calculations measurements.

The proposed Monte-Carlo approach includes the source 5. Results and discussion
capsule X14, the irradiator container OB 26/2 and the bunker
facility with their realistic geometry and material compositions. 5.1. Computed fluence and ambient dose equivalent rates by MCNP5
Furthermore, to investigate the influence of each component of
the SSDL system on the beam outputs, i.e. the neutron fluence and The MCNP5 fluence results obtained for the four considered
the energy spectrum, MCNP5 calculations have been performed configurations are represented in Fig. 3 and compared to the ISO
for four different configurations of the 241Am–Be source within its 8529-1 (ISO-8529/1, 2001) spectrum. The fluence distribution is
X14 capsule as suggested in Benmokhtar et al. (2000). The source given per lethargy unit (i.e. per logarithmic energy interval Dln
was assumed to be: (E)) as defined by ISO 8529-1.
We can observe, in Fig. 3, that the spectra of the 241Am–Be
(a) In void, i.e. neutrons are assumed emerging from within the source with its X14 capsule in void (Conf_1) and free-in-air
americium–beryllium mixture inside the X14 source capsule, (Conf_2) do not differ from the ISO spectrum. The fluence-to-dose
with ISO spectrum. Outside the capsule is assumed to be void conversion factor at the selected distance (SDD ¼150 cm) corre-
(labeled: Conf_1). sponding to these configurations are 388 and 387.6 pSv cm2,
(b) Free in air, i.e. as for the preceding ‘‘in void’’ calculations, but respectively. These values are close to that of the reference case
with air surrounding the X14 source capsule (labeled: corresponding to a lightly encapsulated and free-field situation
Conf_2). (391 pSv cm2) by a factor of nearly 0.8%. So, these two configura-
(c) With the X14 source capsule, within the OB 26/2 shielding tions comply well with the ISO-8529 specifications.
container free-in-air (labeled: Conf_3). Conversely, the container shielding OB 26/2 (Conf_3) as well as
(d) With the X14 source capsule, within the OB 26/2 shielding the SSDL bunker (Conf_4) have significant effects on the neutron
container and inside the air filled SSDL bunker facility spectrum compared to the ISO one. These effects are materialized
(labeled: Conf_4). This later represents the actual SSDL by the occurrence of a peak in the thermal region (Er0.414 eV).
irradiator configuration. This is most likely due to multiple neutron scattering occurring
with concrete (H, O and Si) room walls of the SSDL bunker and in a
The objective was to determine the effect of the different much more pronounced proportion within polyethylene (C, H)
materials on the neutron spectrum at selected irradiation shielding material of the source container OB 26/2.
positions. More specifically, the effect of air is evaluated from The detailed calculated results in terms of total neutron
configuration 1 (Conf_1) to configuration 2 (Conf_2). The effect of fluence rate (cm  2 s  1) and ambient dose equivalent rate
the source container OB 26/2 on this neutron field is determined (mSv h  1) for the four studied configurations are summarized in
from configuration 2 to configuration 3 (Conf_3). The room effect Tables 1 and 2, respectively.
1918 H. Mazrou et al. / Applied Radiation and Isotopes 68 (2010) 1915–1921

It must be noted that all the computed values are affected by

the 10% uncertainty due to the source strength uncertainty given
by the manufacturer, whereas the statistical uncertainty esti-
mated with MCNP5 was kept less than 1%.
Globally, from Tables 1 and 2, we can see an increase of both
MCNP5 computed quantities, i.e. fluence rate and ambient dose
equivalent rate from the first configuration to the last one for a
fixed source detector distance with a particular emphasis when
passing from the second to the third configuration. This shows a
marked contribution of the OB 26/2 container compared to the air
and the SSDL wall room ones.
The fluence scattering contributions of air, container shielding
OB 26/2 and SSDL room are calculated by Eqs. (1)–(3), respec-
tively. They are given as follows:
ðFConf 2 FConf 1 Þ
Airð%Þ ¼  100 ð1Þ
FConf 2

ðFConf 3 FConf 2 Þ
OB 26ð%Þ ¼  100 ð2Þ
Fig. 3. Calculated (MCNP5) energy spectra for 241
Am–Be source within different FConf 3
configurations at selected distance SDD¼150 cm (Normalized fluence per lethargy).
ðFConf 4 FConf 3 Þ
Roomð%Þ ¼  100 ð3Þ
FConf 4
Table 1
Total neutron fluence rate f (cm  2 s  1) calculated by MCNP5 for the four studied The dose equivalent scattering contributions for the above-
configurations at different source-detector-distances (SDD). cited components are calculated analogically using similar
formulas (F replaced by H) as described in Eqs. (1)–(3).

SDD (cm)
Fðn cm2 s1 Þ The detailed results giving the contributions of each investi-
gated component (air, OB 26/2 container, SSDL Room) to the
Conf_1 Conf_2 Conf_3 Conf_4
neutron field of the actual delivered irradiation facility at different
100 90.0 90.9 183.0 184.2 source detector distances are reported in Table 3.
150 40.0 40.5 74.0 75.9 If comparing the source with its X14 capsule free-in-air
200 22.5 22.8 40.1 42.1 (conf_2) to that in void (conf_1), the influence of neutron
250 14.4 14.6 24.9 27.0
scattering in air can be observed. Its contribution has been
300 10.0 10.2 17.0 19.0
350 7.3 7.5 12.4 14.3
estimated to be within 1–2% in neutron fluence rate and up to a
400 5.6 5.7 9.4 11.4 maximum of 1.8% in neutron ambient dose equivalent rate
depending on the source-detector-distance considered.
The effect of the container shielding OB 26/2 (Conf_3) on the
neutron spectrum is important compared to free-in-air situation
Table 2
Total neutron ambient dose equivalent rate Hn(10) (mSv h  1) calculated by MCNP5
(Conf_2) since it increases the neutron fluence rate from nearly
for the four studied configurations at different SDD. 62% to 101% and the dose equivalent rate from nearly 29% to 44%
for considered irradiation positions taken from 4.0 to 1.0 m,

SDD (cm)  1 respectively.
H ð10Þ ðmS vh Þ
This increase is most probably due to neutrons emitted in
Conf_1 Conf_2 Conf_3 Conf_4 back-end face of X14 capsule source, which are reflected by the
considerable amount of the carbon and hydrogen present in the
100 125.8 126.9 182.9 182.8
150 55.9 56.5 77.5 77.5 polyethylene due to (n, n0 ) inelastic scattering reactions. In fact,
200 31.5 31.8 42.6 42.8 the polyethylene acts, in the present case, as a neutron reflector
250 20.1 20.4 26.9 27.1 implying the impressive increase of neutron fluence observed at
300 14.0 14.2 18.5 18.7 studied irradiations positions.
350 10.3 10.5 13.5 13.7
400 7.9 8.0 10.3 10.5
This can be more comprehensible in seeing the scattering cross-
sections of both C and H present in the polyethylene shielding

Table 3
Main outputs characteristics of the OB/26 Am–Be neutron beam evaluated at different SDD using MCNP5.

SDD (cm) EF (MeV) Conversion Fluence scattering contribution (%) Dose equivalent scattering contribution (%)
coefficient (pSv cm2)
Air OB 26/2 Room Air OB 26/2 Room

100 2.53 275.73 1.05 101.20 0.66 0.93 44.12 0.09

150a 2.65a 283.80a 1.32a 82.57a 2.59a 1.15a 36.99a 0.11a
200a 2.65a 282.29a 1.49a 75.80a 4.85a 1.28a 33.84a 0.34a
250 2.62 278.83 1.68 70.27 8.23 1.44 31.82 0.63
300 2.56 272.96 1.85 67.09 11.81 1.57 30.46 0.95
350 2.49 265.74 2.10 64.90 15.87 1.78 29.44 1.35
400 2.40 256.57 2.00 62.98 21.44 1.77 28.65 1.90

The italic values are for potential reference irradiation positions.
H. Mazrou et al. / Applied Radiation and Isotopes 68 (2010) 1915–1921 1919

Thus, first to comply with ISO-8529 specifications the two

following requirements have been considered to select the
potential location:

 Minimum contribution of wall room scattering at the irradia-

tion position;
 conformity, as much as possible, with ISO-8529 specifications
in terms of fluence-to-dose conversion coefficients (close to
391 pSv cm2).

Applying the first criterion, it appears from Table 3 that the first
three source detector distances (100, 150 and 200 cm), which
present wall scattering contributions below 5%, are well suited to
constitute reference irradiation positions. Thereafter, taking into
account the second criterion, one can eliminate the first SDD
(100 cm).
Besides, additional criteria have been added according to
Fig. 4. Cross-sections of various interaction processes of neutrons with carbon and practical considerations:
hydrogen as function of neutron energy (Alevra, 1999).
 uniformity of neutron field;
material of the OB/26 container shown in Fig. 4 (Alevra, 1999). In  minimum irradiation time.
reality, one can observe the cross-section of both carbon and
hydrogen at different energies and, in particular, at high energies Thus, preliminary calculations on beam uniformity at 150 and
(Z1 MeV), which represent the present situation realistically. 200 cm distances suggest a field of nearly 35 and 45 cm of surface
The room scatter effects contribute by about 1–22% to the total diameter, respectively, in good agreement with the area of the
neutron fluence rate and up to a maximum of 2% in terms of most commonly used survey meters for calibration purposes and
ambient dose equivalent rate depending on the considered SDD. other needed spectrometers (8–12 in).
At a fixed SDD, the increase of the neutron fluence scattering Moreover, if one is interested in reasonable irradiation time
contribution due to the OB 26/2 container is noticeably greater required for a given purpose, we retain a location of 150 cm as the
than the corresponding dose equivalent contribution because of optimal distance suggested to the SSDL staff.
the existence of the thermal neutron component in the neutron Therefore, the neutron fluence rate and ambient dose equiva-
energy spectrum. lent rate for three energy ranges (thermal, epithermal and fast) at
The mean weight fluence energy given in column 2 of Table 3 the selected distance of 150 cm are estimated by MCNP5 and are
is calculated using the following equation as follows: given in Table 4.
Ei Fi ðEi Þ Table 4
EF ¼ ð4Þ Neutron fluence and ambient dose equivalent rates for different energy ranges at
150 cm reference irradiation position.
Fi ðEi Þ
E (MeV) Total E r 5  10  7 5  10  7 o E r10  2 E 410  2
where N is the number of total energy bins.
This value is an indication of the hardness of a given spectrum. f (cm  2 s  1) 75.9 12.9 5.4 57.6
The reference 241Am–Be spectrum has a fluence mean energy Proportion (%) 16.9 7.2 75.9
Hn(10) (mSv h  1) 77.5 0.5 0.2 76.8
close to 4 MeV. So, in view of the results presented in Table 3 for Proportion (%) 0.7 0.3 99.0
different SDD, we conclude that the spectra are ‘‘softer’’ than the
ISO one, probably because of the increase of scattered component
which is more important when approaching the SSDL walls.
For the potential reference irradiation positions (150 and
200 cm), the conversion coefficients are estimated to be 283.8 and
282.3 pSv cm2, respectively. These parameters deviate from the
reference one (391 pSv cm2) by about 27%.
In addition, to verify the homogeneity of the field at different
source detector distances calculations of the neutron fluence were
performed using a ring detector (Tally F5) with radii (15 and
20 cm). For the investigated radii, the fluence was found to be
within 70.2% and 70.4% for 15 and 20 cm, respectively, as
compared to the reference case where the radius was assumed to
be 10 cm. As these variations are insignificant, the neutron fluence
within 20 cm diameter surface at investigated irradiation posi-
tions is considered as uniformly distributed.

5.2. Selection of the optimal SSDL irradiation position

For calibration purposes, an optimal reference irradiation

position has been proposed taking into account ISO-8529 Fig. 5. Comparison of MCNP5 dose equivalent rates to measured (BF3, 3He) ones
requirements as well as practical consideration. for different SDD.
1920 H. Mazrou et al. / Applied Radiation and Isotopes 68 (2010) 1915–1921

Table 5
Measured (Berthold 6411 and Studsvik 2202D, 2222A) and calculated (MCNP5) neutron ambient dose equivalent rates at different source-detector-distances.

SDD (cm) H_ ð10ÞðmSv h Þ
H_ ð10ÞMCNP5 H_ ð10ÞMCNP5 H_ ð10ÞMCNP5
H_ ð10ÞLB6411 H_ ð10Þ2202D H_ ð10Þ
LB6411 2202D 2222 A MCNP5a

100 169.8 70.7 194.57 1.9 147.9 71.6 182.8 1.08 0.94 1.24
150 71.3 70.2 69.4 7 1.2 62.4 71.1 77.5 1.09 1.12 1.24
200 38.5 70.2 39.07 0.6 33.9 7 0.6 42.8 1.11 1.10 1.26
250 25.3 70.2 23.3 7 0.5 22.0 7 0.5 27.1 1.07 1.16 1.23
300 17.5 70.2 15.1 7 0.3 15.2 7 0.4 18.7 1.07 1.24 1.23
350 12.5 70.1 11.2 7 0.2 10.7 7 0.2 13.7 1.09 1.23 1.29
400 9.6 70.0 8.17 0.2 8.0 7 0.5 10.5 1.09 1.30 1.31
Mean 7Std. dev. – – – – 1.087 0.02 1.15 7 0.12 1.26 7 0.03

The statistical uncertainty is assumed to be less than 1%.

Note that the dominant contribution to the ambient dose Using the manufacturer’s specifications a detailed MCNP5 model
equivalent rate (99%) is found for fast neutrons (E410 keV) has been created to investigate the contribution of each
eventhough 25% of the fluence rate is due to neutrons with component (air, biological shielding of OB/26 and SSDL bunker
energies less than 10 keV. This is due to the large quality factors wall) to the total fluence rate and ambient dose rate at different
shown for neutrons with higher energies ( 410 keV) compara- source-detector-distances.
tively to thermal and epithermal energies. Therefore, among the investigated factors that have strong
effects on physical and dosimetric quantities of interest,
5.3. Comparison of MCNP5 results to measurements i.e. fluence and ambient dose rates, MCNP5 results have shown
significant influence introduced by the biological shielding
OB 26/2 to the total neutron fluence rate (an increase of 83%)
In order to verify their consistency, our Monte-Carlo (M.C.)
and to the ambient dose equivalent rate (an increase of 37%) a
results have been compared to our measurements obtained as
t reference irradiation position, which has been selected to be
described in Section 4.
150 cm.
Fig. 5 shows, the MCNP5 results together with measurements
The comparison made with measurements performed with
obtained using both BF3 and 3He dosimetric systems at different
dosimetric systems has shown some discrepancies within 20%
when using the BF3 system (Studsvik 2202D and 2222A), whereas
As expected, the ambient dose equivalent rate Hn(10) follows
a good agreement ( o8%) was found with measurements obtained
nearly a 1/r2 (r: source-detector-distance) attenuation law for the
using the 3He-based system (Berthold LB6411). Keeping in mind
considered dosimetric systems.
the 10% overall uncertainty considered for the source strength
The detailed results of this comparative study are summarized
and a maximum deviation of 4% uncertainty due to the variation
in Table 5 where significant differences are observed for the
of neutron spectrum, one can conclude that the results are
Studsvik dosimetric systems comparatively to the Berthold one.
generally satisfactory.
The mean ratio between MCNP5 results and 2202D showed
Overall, the obtained MCNP5 results regarding the actual SSDL
large standard deviation ( +0.12) from the mean value compared
irradiation facility are encouraging. However, to get more
to 2222A ( + 0.03) and to LB6411 (+ 0.02) measuring systems.
consolidation, these results should be validated again by further
These two later present a notable stability due to the digital form
effective experimental data. This may be achieved by performing
recording measurements while the Studsvik 2202D has shown
spectrometric measurements using the newly acquired Bonner
great instability during measurements performed for all values
spheres system based on 3He spherical thermal proportional
(more than 20) recorded for each SDD.
counter. This work is in progress.
Furthermore, the difference observed between theoretical
results and measurements may be due, among possible sources
of difference, to the combination of 10% manufacturer uncertainty
of the source strength and to the ISO source term assumed during Acknowledgments
Hence, according to Magalotti et al. (2007), the ISO source This work is part of a research project developed in the
spectrum must be used in simulation with care and it may be Division of Radiological Physics and supported by the Nuclear
inappropriate, in some cases, to represent the neutron energy Research Center of Algiers (CRNA).
distribution of all 241Am–Be sources. The maximum deviation We would like to express our appreciations to S. Benmokhtar
observed for the integral dose equivalent, is within 4% uncertainty for providing us his private report.
(Lebreton et al., 2007) recommended by ISO 8529-2 (International
Organization for Standardization ISO-8529/2, 2000) for variations
of the neutron spectrum among different 241Am–Be sources. References

AEA QSA-Technology/GmBH, 2000. Sources Manual.

6. Conclusion Alevra, A.V., 1999. Neutron spectrometry. Radioprotection 34 (3), 305–333.
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