Significance and Use
The SSTR method provides for the measurement of absolute-fission density per unit mass. Absolute-neutron fluence can then be inferred from these SSTR-based absolute fission rate observations if an appropriate neutron spectrum average fission cross section is known. This method is highly discriminatory against other components of the in-core radiation field. Gamma rays, beta rays, and other lightly ionizing particles do not produce observable tracks in appropriate LWR SSTR candidate materials. However, photofission can contribute to the observed fission track density and should therefore be accounted for when nonnegligible. For a more detailed discussion of photofission effects, see 13.4.
In this test method, SSTR are placed in surface contact with fissionable deposits and record neutron-induced fission fragments. By variation of the surface mass density (μg/cm2) of the fissionable deposit as well as employing the allowable range of track densities (from roughly 1 event/cm2 up to 105 events/cm2 for manual scanning), a range of total fluence sensitivity covering at least 16 orders of magnitude is possible, from roughly 102 n/cm 2 up to 5 × 1018 n/cm2. The allowable range of fission track densities is broader than the track density range for high accuracy manual scanning work with optical microscopy cited in 1.2. In particular, automated and semi-automated methods exist that broaden the customary track density range available with manual optical microscopy. In this broader track density region, effects of reduced counting statistics at very low track densities and track pile-up corrections at very high track densities can present inherent limitations for work of high accuracy. Automated scanning techniques are described in Section 11.
For dosimetry applications, different energy regions of the neutron spectrum can be selectively emphasized by changing the nuclide used for the fission deposit.
It is possible to use SSTR directly for neutron dosimetry as described in 4.1 or to obtain a composite neutron detection efficiency by exposure in a benchmark neutron field. The fluence and spectrum-averaged cross section in this benchmark field must be known. Furthermore, application in other neutron fields may require adjustments due to spectral deviation from the benchmark field spectrum used for calibration. In any event, it must be stressed that the SSTR-fission density measurements can be carried out completely independent of any cross-section standards (6). Therefore, for certain applications, the independent nature of this test method should not be compromised. On the other hand, many practical applications exist wherein this factor is of no consequence so that benchmark field calibration would be entirely appropriate.
1.1 This test method describes the use of solid-state track recorders (SSTRs) for neutron dosimetry in light-water reactor (LWR) applications. These applications extend from low neutron fluence to high neutron fluence, including high power pressure vessel surveillance and test reactor irradiations as well as low power benchmark field measurement. (1) This test method replaces Method E 418
1.2 This test method includes SSTR analysis by both manual and automated methods. To attain a desired accuracy, the track scanning method selected places limits on the allowable track density. Typically good results are obtained in the range of 5 to 800 000 tracks/cm2 and accurate results at higher track densities have been demonstrated for some cases. (2) Track density and other factors place limits on the applicability of the SSTR method at high fluences. Special care must be exerted when measuring neutron fluences (E>1MeV) above 1016 n/cm2. (3)
1.3 High fluence limitations exist. These limitations are discussed in detail in Section 13 and in references (3-5).
1.4 SSTR observations provide time-integrated reaction rates. Therefore, SSTR are truly passive-fluence detectors. They provide permanent records of dosimetry experiments without the need for time-dependent corrections, such as decay factors that arise with radiometric monitors.
1.5 Since SSTR provide a spatial record of the time-integrated reaction rate at a microscopic level, they can be used for “fine-structure” measurements. For example, spatial distributions of isotopic fission rates can be obtained at very high resolution with SSTR.
1.6 This standard does not purport to address the safety problems associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.