Incorporation of photon analysis into an active interrogation system for shielded uranium characterization
In this project I explored the ability of induced photon and neutron signatures from an associated particle imaging deuterium tritium (API-DT) neutron generator detection system to assess the enrichment of shielded uranium. Fast electronics and the associated particle technique, which provide the timing and directional information of the source 14 MeV neutron, allow for a correlated time window of tens of nanoseconds, thus enabling extraction of clear prompt fission signatures from the inspected object. This project contains three distinct investigations that involve relating API-DT neutron generator induced signatures to uranium enrichment. (1) Explore the correlated neutron and photon detection rates, separated by time-of-flight, and investigate the use of a 3-D radiation transport Monte Carlo code to predict enrichment, based on these signatures, (2) Examine the same correlated detection rates, but use a simple point kinetics technique to relate signatures to enrichment, and (3) Exploit the prompt photon energy spectrum to determine if fission neutrons activate shielding material to provide a signature that can be related to uranium enrichment. Throughout these three studies, I investigated the time, number, and energy distribution of these prompt photon signatures, which enabled me to draw conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of these signatures for shielded uranium characterization.