The hybrid use of Nedis-2m and Serpent 2.1.30 codes to predict the radiation characteristics (i.e., neutron yield and energy spectrum) of an Am–Be source with a fine-grained mixture of americium dioxide (AmO2) and beryllium (Be) core was studied with a focus on the grain size influence on the simulation results. The study showed that the fine-grained structure of the source core would decrease the number of alpha particles participating in the nuclear reactions with 17,18O and 9Be nuclei, which softened the neutron energy spectrum and reduced the neutron yield. The simulations also confirmed that the source core made of the stable crystals of AmBe13 intermetallic alloy would improve the neutron yield to maximum 50% compared to the core made of AmO2. Moreover, a source with a variable neutron yield was proposed with a heterogeneous core of AmO2 rods embedded in Be. The neutron energy spectrum of heterogeneous source resembled the energy spectrum of Deuterium-Tritium (D-T) neutrons which were generated in a long magnetic trap with high-temperature plasma. The subcritical irradiation facility assembled from the nth number of heterogeneous Am–Be source can be used to study the properties of materials and the equipment operating in the epithermal and fast neutron spectra. The use of a heterogeneous Am–Be assembly, as a basic element of an irradiation installation, simplifies the handling and operation procedures because it is easily disabled by removing the Be layer, or by inserting a sheet of the appropriate size and material between the Be and Am rod.
ASJC Scopus subject areas