Feasibility Study of Beta Detector for Small Leak Detection inside the Reactor Containment

  • Received : 2018.10.30
  • Accepted : 2018.12.04
  • Published : 2018.12.31


Background: To prevent small leakage accidents, a real-time and direct detection system for small leaks with a detection limit below that of existing systems, e.g. $0.5gpm{\cdot}hr^{-1}$, is required. In this study, a small-size beta detector, which can be installed inside the reactor containment (CT) building and detect small leaks directly, was suggested and its feasibility was evaluated using MCNPX simulation. Materials and Methods: A target nuclide was selected through analysis of radiation from radionuclides in the reactor coolant system (RCS) and the spectrum was obtained via a silicon detector simulated in MCNPX. A window was designed to reduce the background signal caused by other nuclides. The sensitivity of the detector was also estimated, and its shielding designed for installation inside the reactor CT. Results and Discussion: The beta and gamma spectrum of the silicon detector showed a negligible gamma signal but it also contained an undesired peak at 0.22 MeV due to other nuclides, not the $^{16}N$ target nuclide. Window to remove the peak was derived as 0.4 mm for beryllium. The sensitivity of silicon beta detector with a beryllium window of 1.7 mm thickness was derived as $5.172{\times}10^{-6}{\mu}Ci{\cdot}cc^{-1}$. In addition, the specification of the shielding was evaluated through simulations, and the results showed that the integrity of the silicon detector can be maintained with lead shielding of 3 cm (<15 kg). This is a very small amount compared to the specifications of the lead shielding (600 kg) required for installation of $^{16}N$ gamma detector in inside reactor CT, it was determined that beta detector would have a distinct advantage in terms of miniaturization. Conclusion: The feasibility of the beta detector was evaluated for installation inside the reactor CT to detect small leaks below $0.5gpm{\cdot}hr^{-1}$. In future, the design will be optimized on specific data.


Grant : Development of a real-time detection system for unidentified RCS leakage less than 0.5 gpm

Supported by : Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP)


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