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The Neutron Active Interrogation System for In-Field Detection of Transuranic-Based Radioactive Dispersal Devices for Security Applications

[+] Author Affiliations
N. Cherubini, A. Dodaro, G. A. Marzo, E. Piccinelli

ENEA, Rome, Italy

G. Gandolfo, L. Lepore, R. Remetti

Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

Paper No. ICONE26-81422, pp. V004T06A015; 7 pages
  • 2018 26th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 4: Nuclear Safety, Security, and Cyber Security; Computer Code Verification and Validation
  • London, England, July 22–26, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5146-3
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


The increasing of terror menace in recent years led the international community to enhance the efforts to minimize threats to people in everyday life by developing devices, techniques, and procedures targeted to improve the collective security. In this framework the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) developed a new device to improve CBRNe resilience, the Neutron Active Interrogation system (NAI). It has been conceived and optimized to identify transuranic-based Radioactive Dispersal Devices potentially hidden in packages, envisaging its utilization in field applications. NAI is based on the detection of neutrons from induced fission on small amount, of the order of a few grams, of fissile material. The device exploits a portable neutron generator based on d-t fusion reaction, a polyethylene structure for reducing the neutron energy in order to maximize the fission cross-section, and an array of 3He proportional counters. Fissile material detection is made using the Differential Die-Away time Analysis (DDAA), an active neutron technique based on the difference among the die-away times of fast interrogation neutrons and prompt fission neutrons induced by thermal neutrons in the moderating system.

The original experimental setup was tested on the field during the live demo open to the public at the EDEN Project Demonstration occurred in September 2015 at ENEA Frascati Research Centre in Rome. Since then, the setup has been modified to improve the device detection capabilities. NAI performances have been tested within different environmental conditions, e.g. open field geometry vs. bunker-like geometry, to study the effects of scattering phenomena. The optimized configuration here presented is transportable, lightweight, and able to detect 2 grams of 235U contained in a salt of depleted uranium in real time, independently from the measurement environmental conditions.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Topics: Neutrons , Security



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