Experimental Verification of the Fission Chamber Gamma Signal Suppression by the Campbelling Mode

Ludo Vermeeren, Marcel Wéber, Ludovic Oriol, Stéphane Breaud, Philippe Filliatre, Benoit Geslot, Christian Jammes, Stéphane Normand, Bernard Lescop, Marc Schyns

    Research outputpeer-review


    For the on-line monitoring of high fast neutron fluxes in the presence of a strong thermal neutron component, SCK•CEN and CEA are jointly developing a Fast Neutron Detector System, based on 242Pu fission chambers as sensors and including dedicated electronics and data processing systems. Irradiation tests in the BR2 reactor of 242Pu fission chambers operating in current mode showed that in typical MTR conditions the fission chamber currents are dominated by the gamma contribution. In order to reduce the gamma contribution to the signal, it was proposed to use the fission chambers in Campbelling mode. An irradiation experiment in the BR2 reactor with a 242Pu and a 235U fission chamber, both equipped with a suitable cable for measurements in Campbelling mode, proved the effectiveness of the suppression of the gamma-induced signal component by the Campbelling mode: gamma contribution reduction factors of 26 for the 235U fission chamber and more than 80 for the 242Pu fission chamber were obtained. The experimental data also prove that photofission contributions are negligibly small. Consequently, in typical MTR conditions the gamma contribution to the fission chamber Campbelling signal can be neglected.

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