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Gadolinium (Gd) has been used extensively at BSW Nuclear Technologies (BWNT) as a dosimetry shielding material for several years. Gadolinium has a significant cross section throughout the energy range of interest (i.e. above 1 MeV) in vessel fluence calculations. While Gd has a number of advantages as a dosimetry cover, it also has the potential for introducing a bias of unknown magnitude into the measured activities of covered fast response dosimeters such as U238 and iron. The Gd cover causes a reduction in the measured dosimeter activity, which means that the calculated fluxes normalized to those activities would be under-predicted. This is, of course, in the non-conservative direction. Since dosimeter covers are generally not included in the typical transport analysis model, corrections for this effect are not generally made. The calculated activities would not include the effects of the Gd while, of course, the measured activities would. The resulting calculation to measurement ratios, (C/M), which are used to remove biases in the calculated fluxes, would therefore be in error, in the non-conservative direction, by some undetermined amount.
This study has determined the magnitude of the bias in the fast response dosimeters, U238 and iron caused by the absorption of fast (E>1.0 MeV) neutrons in 2 mm (0.002 m) Gd covers. The results indicate that the bias is in the 2.9–3.4% range and that it is only a weak function of dosimeter material.
dosimeter cover, gadolinium, dosimeter bias
Engineer III, B%W Nuclear Technologies, Lynchburg, Virginia
Principal Engineer, B%W Nuclear Technologies, Lynchburg, Virginia