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3He proportional counter development for thermal neutron detection

Abstract

Neutron detection is used in a wide range of applications in nuclear physics, radiation protection, nuclear fuel cycle, reactor instrumentation, security and industrial measurement. Among the detectors used in this field, we notice the gas-filled 3He proportional counters which have been one of the main detecting tools for thermal and cold neutron detection for many years. This last characteristic has ensured that this detector is one of the best tools for thermal neutron flux measurements in a nuclear reactor control. In the instrumentation and detection laboratory of the Nuclear Research Center, of Birine, we are working toward the design and the development of this type of detectors, indeed, several prototypes of neutron detectors have been realized including the 3He proportional counters. Through this paper, we will present the experimental steps and the obtained results to carry out a 3He proportional counter prototype that was fully developed and tested in our laboratory. A comparison study was made between our detector and a commercial cylindrical 3He neutron detector which was considered in this work as a reference detector: LND252 (3He)-PC. The results showed that the characteristics of the gas amplification and the counting plateau for the two counters reference LND 252 (3He)-PC and our prototype was of the same order of scale. The experimental tests show that our developed prototype perfect fit with the standard International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC, www.iec.ch) in the operating principle, the technology adopted and obtained technical specifications.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all the engineers and technicians of the Detection and Measurement Department and the staff of the DEDIN Division, special thanks are extended to Mr. Idir Abdellani General Director of CRNB.

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Correspondence to Mohamed Fares.

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Fares, M., Messai, A., Begaa, S. et al. 3He proportional counter development for thermal neutron detection. Radiat Detect Technol Methods 5, 264–272 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41605-021-00258-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s41605-021-00258-5

Keywords

  • Neutrons detectors
  • 3He proportional counters
  • Counting plateau
  • Discrimination
  • Gas amplification