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Neutron Radiography and Computed Tomography at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The capability to perform neutron radiography and computed tomography is being developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The facility will be located at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), which has the highest steady state neutron flux of any reactor in the world. The Monte Carlo N-Particle transport code (MCNP), versions 4A and 4B, has been used extensively in the design phase of the facility to predict and optimize the operating characteristics, and to ensure the safety of personnel working in and around the blockhouse. Neutrons are quite penetrating in most engineering materials and can be useful to detect internal flaws and features. Hydrogen atoms, such as in a hydrocarbon fuel, lubricant or a metal hydride, are relatively opaque to neutron transmission. Thus, neutron based tomography or radiography is ideal to image their presence. The source flux also provides unparalleled flexibility for future upgrades, including real time radiography where dynamic processes can be observed. A novel tomography detector has been designed using optical fibers and digital technology to provide a large dynamic range for reconstructions. Film radiography is also available for high resolution imaging applications. This paper summarizes the results of the design phase of this facility and the potential benefits to science and industry.

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