Design optimization of radiation shielding structure for lead slowing-down spectrometer system

Article English OPEN
Kim, Jeong Dong ; Ahn, Sangjoon ; Lee, Yong Deok ; Park, Chang Je (2015)
  • Publisher: Elsevier BV
  • Journal: Nuclear Engineering and Technology, volume 47, issue 3, pages 380-387 (issn: 1738-5733)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.net.2015.01.004
  • Subject: Concrete | Nuclear engineering. Atomic power | Lead slowing-down spectrometer facility | Isotopic assay | Radiation shielding | Nuclear Energy and Engineering | High-density polyethylene–Borax | Spent nuclear fuel | TK9001-9401

A lead slowing-down spectrometer (LSDS) system is a promising nondestructive assay technique that enables a quantitative measurement of the isotopic contents of major fissile isotopes in spent nuclear fuel and its pyroprocessing counterparts, such as 235U, 239Pu, 241Pu, and, potentially, minor actinides. The LSDS system currently under development at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (Daejeon, Korea) is planned to utilize a high-flux (>1012 n/cm2·s) neutron source comprised of a high-energy (30 MeV)/high-current (∼2 A) electron beam and a heavy metal target, which results in a very intense and complex radiation field for the facility, thus demanding structural shielding to guarantee the safety. Optimization of the structural shielding design was conducted using MCNPX for neutron dose rate evaluation of several representative hypothetical designs. In order to satisfy the construction cost and neutron attenuation capability of the facility, while simultaneously achieving the aimed dose rate limit (<0.06 μSv/h), a few shielding materials [high-density polyethylene (HDPE)–Borax, B4C, and Li2CO3] were considered for the main neutron absorber layer, which is encapsulated within the double-sided concrete wall. The MCNP simulation indicated that HDPE-Borax is the most efficient among the aforementioned candidate materials, and the combined thickness of the shielding layers should exceed 100 cm to satisfy the dose limit on the outside surface of the shielding wall of the facility when limiting the thickness of the HDPE-Borax intermediate layer to below 5 cm. However, the shielding wall must include the instrumentation and installation holes for the LSDS system. The radiation leakage through the holes was substantially mitigated by adopting a zigzag-shape with concrete covers on both sides. The suggested optimized design of the shielding structure satisfies the dose rate limit and can be used for the construction of a facility in the near future.
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