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Neutron flux measurements have been made (1)2 of low-level neutron sources present in several types of neutron-producing facilities. The flux levels or distribution of thermal, epithermal, and fast neutrons have been measured in radioisotope sources, spent fuel element gamma irradiation facilities, and electron linear accelerators. Sensitivities greater than 1 neutron per sq cm per sec have been achieved for thermal neutrons. Neutron flux measurements may be made by several methods (2). Foil activation (3) is a convenient and simple technique. The foils containing materials of known cross-section are exposed to the neutrons, and the flux determinations are made by measurement of the induced activities in the irradiated foils. This technique is widely used for measuring neutron fluxes and spectra in nuclear reactors and critical facilities where the neutron fluxes are large (106 to 1014 neutrons per sq cm per sec). To measure neutron fluxes of smaller magnitude, such as those found in isotope sources, gamma irradiation facilities, or outside reactor shielding (¼106 neutrons per sq cm per sec), special foil dosimetry techniques or counting methods are required to obtain sufficient sensitivity for the radioactivity measurements. The theoretical and experimental considerations for neutron detectors of high sensitivity and several programs in which these detectors were used are discussed.
Nuclear Science and Engineering Corp., Pittsburgh, Pa.