2019 IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and Medical Imaging Conference (NSS/MIC) | 2019
NDX: Neutron Dose Rate Meters with Extended Capabilities
The novel design of the neutron moderator for the NDX dose rate meter implements a layer of a Beryllium-loaded medium Z material which allows the device to detect higher energy neutron flux and convert it to dose. Using Beryllium helps to fill the known dip in the response functions around 5-50 MeV. Optimized design parameter set, obtained using FLUKA Monte Carlo simulations, features the NDX moderator made of polyethylene embedding a layer of Be–Cu alloy inside, with the dose rate response constant within ±10% in the neutron energy range from about 100 keV to 500 MeV, and ±25% essentially in the full energy range above thermal. A new sensor technique implemented in the NDX is based on using the Ionization Chamber (IC) filled with 3He gas to capture the moderated neutron fluence, and includes a symmetric IC filled with regular 4He to evaluate the contributions due to the non-neutron ionizing radiation. Advantages of the method include large accessible dynamic range, relative insensitivity of the IC probes to photon radiation fields, and the ability to subtract their contribution. Two prototype NDX detectors were built, calibrated, and operated in various conditions at the CEBAF 12 GeV electron accelerator at JLab. The first results showed reliable neutron dose rate measurements in the presence of overwhelming photon radiation fields, and at practical high dose rate levels of up to approximately 10 Sv/h. Detector design, operation, first results, and further development plans are presented.