Simulation of a neutron multiplicity counter and comparison to validation experiments
Paper presented at International Workshop on Numerical Modelling of NDA Instrumentation and Methods for Nuclear Safeguards, 2018, Luxembourg, 16th-17th May 2018, co-hosted during the ESARDA 40th Annual Meeting
Neutron coincident counting is a useful tool, both to determine the nature of a neutron source and to extract parameters like the multiplicity, a-ratio and ultimately the mass. For the latter, well characterized detectors, like the Active Well Coincident Counter (AWCC), enable the measurement of uranium or plutonium content in the order of several grams. The multiplicity analysis also allows determining if an unknown neutron source emits fission neutrons and thus possibly contains special nuclear material. The Ortec Fission Meter is an instrument designed exactly for this purpose. It consists of a highly efficient moderated 3He neutron detector and a Windows Mobile handheld computer with dedicated software. It is powered by batteries and intended for field use. In order to get a deeper understanding of the measured data and to predict the dependence of the analysis on different parameters like additional shielding, Fraunhofer INT performed a Monte-Carlo simulation of the instrument. A MCNP simulation of the source assembly and the instrument results in the arrival times of the neutrons for one single source event. Further software modules allow to generate a pulse train and to perform the same analysis as the Fission Meter hard- and software does. While the count rate of the simulation and a validation experiment were in agreement, the calculated Feynman-Variance showed a significant deviation. The main cause is presumably a small fraction of double pulsing from the discriminator. The inclusion of this effect in the post-processing results in a very good agreement of measured and simulated data.