New 3He Replacement Sensors for DOE Material Control and Accountability
Small Business Information
MA, Watertown, MA, 02472-4699
AbstractImplementing nuclear material control and accountability (MC & amp;A) programs at DOE facilities requires new techniques and equipment that maximize material loss detection sensitivity, increase the quality of accountability measurements, minimize material holdup, and reduce the magnitude of inventory differences. Similarly, new methods and technologies are needed to address key issues affecting future deployments of nuclear energy, while reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation. Successfully undertaking MC & amp;A at these facilities requires new detectors that effectively circumvent the current shortage of 3He.The goal of the proposed program is to develop a low-cost, high-efficiency, low-noise, solid-state neutron detector with intrinsic pulse shape discrimination capability that allows effective real-time separation of neutron signals from gamma events. At the heart of the proposed detector are novel scintillators, incorporating heavy concentration of 6Li ions, synthesized in a structured form. These scintillators will be synthesized using a specialized technique that permits large-volume synthesis of high-quality material in hours, and allows creation of unconventional compositions. Resulting sensors will be coupled to photodetectors to realize thermal neutron detectors to achieve the objectives of high efficiency, excellent energy resolution, and high gamma/neutron discrimination. Commercial applications and other benefits: In addition to safeguarding nuclear facilities, ensuring effective MC & amp;A in facilities, and allowing radiography/tomography in new approaches for spent-fuel storage and processing, improved scintillators and non-3He detectors are critically important to homeland security, nuclear and high-energy physics research, nuclear waste cleanup, nuclear treaty verification, and geological exploration.
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