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The IAEA workshop on requirements and potential technologies for replacement of 3He detectors in IAEA safeguards applications

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Victor Gavron
  • Daniela Henzlova
  • Malcolm Joyce
  • R. T. Kouzes
  • Anthony D. Lavietes
  • Howard Menlove
  • Mark M. Pickrell
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/01/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Nuclear Materials Management
Issue number2
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)14-29
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held an international workshop March 22–24, 2011, to address the question of a possible replacement for helium-3-based neutron detectors.Within this wider scope, the workshop was focused on those applications used in IAEA verification activities. There were two principle objectives of the workshop: 1) to determine the specific requirements that a potential replacement technology would have to satisfy, and 2) to identify alternative detector technologies that appear promising for meeting those requirements. The workshop was successful in achieving both objectives. A set of detailed and quantitative specifications was developed and achieved a general consensus among the conference participants. These included operational considerations such as temperature stability, safety,weight, and cost in addition to a number of performance requirements.The performance requirements were derived from an analysis of the spectrum of IAEA applications that use neutron detectors. After analyzing these applications, it was determined that the most common application for 3He detectors was for neutron coincidence counting, comprising over 95 percent of 3He use. The details and rationale for this assessment will be provided.The performance requirements for neutron coincidence counting can be directly calculated from the standard variance expressions.From these, a basic figure of merit (FOM) was developed that can be used to rank various different options. For neutron coincidence counting, the figure of merit is: , where ε is the detection efficiency and is the detector die-away time. Both the FOM and the calculations will be presented. The full list of requirements is included in this paper. The second purpose of the workshop was to identify promising replacement technologies.There were multiple presentations of candidate detection technologies over the course of the workshop, covering a wide spectrum of approaches and detection physics. These technologies were judged relative to the performance of a 3He-based system,as well as its ability to meet the replacement technology requirements as developed in this workshop. The paper will present a summary of this assessment.