Article 312

A proposed benchmark problem for cargo nuclear threat monitoring
Thomas Wesley Holmes, Adan Calderon, Cody R. Peeples, and Robin P. Gardner
Publishing Info: 
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A, 652, pp. 52-57 (2011)
There is currently a great deal of technical and political effort focused on reducing the risk of potential attacks on the United States involving radiological dispersal devices or nuclear weapons. This paper proposes a benchmark problem for gamma-ray and X-ray cargo monitoring with results calculated using MCNP5, v1.51. The primary goal is to provide a benchmark problem that will allow researchers in this area to evaluate Monte Carlo models for both speed and accuracy in both forward and inverse calculational codes and approaches for nuclear security applications. A previous benchmark problem was developed by one of the authors (RPG) for two similar oil well logging problems (Gardner and Verghese,1991, [1]). One of those benchmarks has recently been used by at least two researchers in the nuclear threat area to evaluate the speed and accuracy of Monte Carlo codes combined with variance reduction techniques. This apparent need has prompted us to design this benchmark problem specifically for the nuclear threat researcher. This benchmark consists of conceptual design and preliminary calculational results using gamma ray interactions on a system containing three thicknesses of three different shielding materials. A point source is placed inside the three materials lead, aluminum, and plywood. The first two materials are in right circular cylindrical form while the third is a cube. The entire system rests on a sufficiently thick lead base so as to reduce undesired scattering events.The configuration was arranged in such a manner that as gamma-ray moves from the source outward it first passes through the lead circular cylinder, then the aluminum circular cylinder, and finally the wooden cube before reaching the detector. A 2 in. x 4 in. x 16 in. box style NaI(Tl)detector was placed 1m from the point source located in the center with the 4 in. x 16 in. side facing the system. The two sources used in the benchmark are 137Cs and 235U.