French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

Presentation of CEA and LMN
The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is a key player in research, development and innovation in four main areas: defense and security, nuclear and renewable energies, technological research for industry, fundamental research in physics and life sciences.
The Nuclear Measurement Laboratory (LMN) of CEA Cadarache is specialized in the design by numerical simulation, development, and experimental qualification of nonintrusive nuclear measurement methods: high energy X-ray imaging, gamma-ray spectroscopy, passive and active neutron measurements, neutron and photon activation analysis. These methods are applied in the field of nuclear energy (uranium mining, fuel fabrication and reprocessing, radioactive waste and nuclear material characterization, dismantling and decommissioning, severe accident studies…) and homeland security (detection of explosives, illicit drugs, chemical warfare…).

Experience in neutron analytical techniques
The LMN worked on the application of PGNAA for measuring hazardous or prohibited chemicals in 120 L radioactive waste packages using historical “REGAIN” cell, which was commissioned at CEA Cadarache in the early 2000’s [1]. REGAIN has been dismounted a few years ago due to the cleanup of its host facility, but its graphite elements could be reassembled in another facility to build a new, smaller PGNAA cell with an internal cavity of about 30 cm × 30 cm × 30 cm. A GENIE 16 pulsed neutron generator and HP Ge detectors are still available.
The LMN has also a long experience with the Associate Particle Technique (APT) which allows mapping in 3 dimensions the nuclei inside an inspected object by measuring neutron-induced inelastic scattering gamma rays in coincidence with the ? particle associated to the 14 MeV neutron produced in the reaction 2H+3H? ?+n . The LMN studies APT applications for homeland security applications [2] and radioactive waste characterization [3].

Collaborations in the field of neutron analytical techniques
The LMN has been working with FZJ Jülich on radioactive waste characterization using PGNAA since 2009 through a STC collaboration that lead to a joint a CEA-FZJ PhD thesis in 2013-2016 [4]. Since 2004, the LMN is also involved in European projects through FP6 – FP7 such as EURITRACK [5], Eritr@C [6], UNCOSS [7] or H2020 projects such as CBORD [8]. The LMN also participated in French homeland security programs aiming at detecting CBRNE threats using neutron interrogation techniques [9].

[1] J.-L. Ma, C. Carasco, B. Perot, E. Mauerhofer, et al., Prompt gamma neutron activation analysis of toxic elements in radioactive waste packages, Appl. Rad. and Isotopes 70 (2012) 1261–1263
[2] C. Carasco, B. Perot, S. Bernard, A. Mariani et al., In-field tests of the EURITRACK tagged neutron inspection system, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 588 (2008), 397-405
[3] W. El Kanawati, B. Perot, C. Carasco, Monte Carlo simulation of high-level radioactive waste characterization with the associated particle technique, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 705 (2013), 61-73.
[4] T. Nicol, Caractérisation des colis de déchets radioactifs par activation neutronique, Thèse pour obtenir le grade de docteur de l’université Grenoble alpes, Spécialité : Physique appliquée (19/09/2016).
[5] B. Perot, C. Carasco, S. Bernard, A. Mariani, et al, Measurement of 14 MeV neutron-induced prompt gamma-ray spectra from 15 elements found in cargo containers, Applied Radiation and Isotopes, Volume 66, Issue 4, April 2008, Pages 421-434
[6] W. El Kanawati, B. Perot, C. Carasco, C. Eleon, et al, Acquisition of prompt gamma-ray spectra induced by 14 MeV neutrons and comparison with Monte Carlo simulations, Applied Radiation and Isotopes 69 (2011), 732-743.
[7] C. Eleon, B. Perot, C. Carasco, D. Sudac, et al, Experimental and MCNP simulated gamma-ray spectra for the UNCOSS neutron-based explosive detector, Nucl. Instr. and Meth. A 629 (2011), 220-229
[8] A. Sardet, B. Pérot, C. Carasco, G. Sannié, S. Moretto, G. Nebbia, C. Fontana, et al., Design of the Rapidly Relocatable Tagged Neutron Inspection System of the C-BORD Project, NSS/MIC/RTSD 2016.
[9] C. Carasco, B. Perot, J.L. Ma, A. Mariani, A.C. Raoux, P. Pras, E. Cusset et al., Detection of Chemical Agents with a Portable Neutron Inspection System, 2008 IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record, (2008) 680

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