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Simulation of the elastic scattering contributions to the NRF-based nondestructive assay of nuclear materials

Omer, M.; Hajima, Ryoichi*; Angell, C.*; Shizuma, Toshiyuki*; Hayakawa, Takehito*; Seya, Michio; Koizumi, Mitsuo

Isotope-specific $$gamma$$-rays emitted in the nuclear resonance fluorescence (NRF) process provide a good technique for a non-destructive detection and assay of nuclear materials. We are developing technologies relevant to $$gamma$$-ray nondestructive detection and assay utilizing NRF. A Monte Carlo code to simulate NRF process is necessary for design and evaluation of NDA systems. We are developing NRFGeant4, a Geant4-based simulation code, for this purpose. In NRF experiments, highly-enriched targets are generally used such that the NRF signals are dominant and easily measured. In contrast, a real situation may involve very small contents of isotopes of interest. This results in a difficulty in measuring NRF signals because of the interference with other interactions, e.g. elastic scattering. For example, a typical nuclear fuel pellet contains about 90% of $$^{238}$$U as a host material and less than 1% of $$^{239}$$Pu as an isotope of interest. When measuring NRF of $$^{239}$$Pu, there would be a huge background coming from the elastic scattering of $$^{238}$$U. Therefore, an estimation of the elastic scattering with the host material is essential for precise determination of isotope of interest. Satisfying estimation of elastic scattering is currently not available except for some calculations. In the present study, we upgrade our simulation code to include the calculation of elastic scattering events.

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