A. Thornton, “Development of a Portable Neutron Coincidence Counter for Field Measurements of Nuclear Materials using the Advanced Multiplicity Capabilities of MCNPX 2.5.F and the Neutron Coincidence Point Model”, M.S. Thesis, Texas A & M University, December 2007.
Neutron coincidence counting is an important passive Nondestructive Assay (NDA) technique widely used for qualitative and quantitative analysis of nuclear material in bulk samples. During the fission process, multiple neutrons are simultaneously emitted from the splitting nucleus. These neutron groups are often referred to as coincident neutrons. Because different isotopes possess different coincident neutron characteristics, the coincident neutron signature can be used to identify and quantify a given material. In an effort to identify unknown nuclear samples in field inspections, the Portable Neutron Coincidence Counter (PNCC) has been developed. This detector makes use of the coincident neutrons being emitted from a bulk sample. An in-depth analysis has been performed to establish whether the nuclear material in an unknown sample could be quantified with the accuracy and precision needed for safeguards measurements. The analysis was performed by comparing experimental measurements of PuO2 samples to the calculated output produced using MCNPX and the Neutron Coincidence Point Model. Based on the analysis, it is evident that this new portable system can play a useful role in identifying nuclear material for verification purposes.