Important factors in predicting detection probabilities for radiation portal monitors

Date

2010-05

Authors

Tong, Fei, 1986-

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Abstract

This report analyzes the impact of some important factors on the prediction of detection probabilities for radiation portal monitors (RPMs). The application of innovative detection technology to improve operational sensitivity of RPMs has received increasing attention in recent decades. In particular, two alarm algorithms, gross count and energy windowing, have been developed to try to distinguish between special nuclear material (SNM) and naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). However, the use of the two detection strategies is quite limited due to a very large number of unpredictable threat scenarios. We address this problem by implementing a new Monte Carlo radiation transport simulation approach to model a large set of threat scenarios with predefined conditions. In this report, our attention is focused on the effect of two important factors on the detected energy spectra in RPMs, the mass of individual nuclear isotopes and the thickness of shielding materials. To study the relationship between these factors and the resulting spectra, we apply several advanced statistical regression models for different types of data, including a multinomial logit model, an ordinal logit model, and a curvilinear regression model. By utilizing our new simulation technique together with these sophisticated regression models, we achieve a better understanding of the system response under various conditions. We find that the different masses of the isotopes change the isotopes’ effect on the energy spectra. In analyzing the joint impact of isotopes’ mass and shielding thickness, we obtain a nonlinear relation between the two factors and the gross count of gamma photons in the energy spectrum.

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