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Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9012747, 12 pages
Research Article

Design, Construction, and Modeling of a 252Cf Neutron Irradiator

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-5706, USA

Received 1 June 2016; Revised 27 July 2016; Accepted 31 July 2016

Academic Editor: Alejandro Clausse

Copyright © 2016 Blake C. Anderson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neutron production methods are an integral part of research and analysis for an array of applications. This paper examines methods of neutron production, and the advantages of constructing a radioisotopic neutron irradiator assembly using 252Cf. Characteristic neutron behavior and cost-benefit comparative analysis between alternative modes of neutron production are also examined. The irradiator is described from initial conception to the finished design. MCNP modeling shows a total neutron flux of 3 × 105 n/(cm2·s) in the irradiation chamber for a 25 μg source. Measurements of the gamma-ray and neutron dose rates near the external surface of the irradiator assembly are 120 μGy/h and 30 μSv/h, respectively, during irradiation. At completion of the project, total material, and labor costs remained below $50,000.