Characteristics of the KUR Heavy Water Neutron Irradiation Facility as a neutron irradiation field with variable energy spectra
The Heavy Water Neutron Irradiation Facility (HWNIF) of the Kyoto University Research Reactor (KUR) was updated in March 1996, mainly for the improvement in neutron capture therapy (NCT). A striking feature of the updated facility is that the energy spectrum of the neutron beam can be controlled from almost pure thermal to epi-thermal, within 5 min by remote control under a continuous reactor operation. This feature is advantageous not only to medical science such as NCT, but also to the other research fields such as physics, engineering, biology, etc. The performance of the updated facility as a neutron irradiation field with variable energy spectra, was characterized. Thermal neutron flux, cadmium ratio, gamma-ray dose rate, etc., at the normal irradiation position for various irradiation modes were determined, mainly on the basis of the measurement using gold activation foils and thermo-luminescent dosimeters (TLDs). The emphasis was on the performance of the new neutron energy spectrum shifter and cadmium thermal neutron filter, that control the mixing ratio of thermal and epi-thermal neutrons, through the change in the heavy water thickness of the spectrum shifter and the aperture size of the cadmium filter. The evaluation of neutron energy spectra at the normal irradiation position was also performed for three representative irradiation modes, in which the neutron intensities are largest of all the irradiation modes. In addition, the irradiation characteristics of two irradiation devices, namely the Irradiation Rail Device and the Remote Patient Carrier, which were updated concurrently with the facility update, were evaluated.