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Systematic Fast Neutron Background Measurement Fluctuations in an Urban Area Using a Mobile Detection System...

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Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
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Neutron background measurements using a mobile trailer-based system were conducted in Knoxville, Tennessee. The 0.5 m2 system consisting of 8 EJ-301 liquid scintillation detectors was used to collect neutron background measurements in order to better understand the systematic background variations that depend solely on the street-level measurement position in a local, downtown area. Data was collected along 5 different streets in the downtown Knoxville area, and the measurements were found to be repeatable. Using 10 min measurements, fractional uncertainty in each measured data point was <2%. Compared with fast neutron background count rates measured away from downtown Knoxville, a reduction in background count rates ranging from 10-50% was observed in the downtown area, sometimes varying substantially over distances of tens of meters. These reductions are attributed to the shielding of adjacent buildings, quantified in part here by the metric angle-of-open-sky. The adjacent buildings may serve to shield cosmic ray neutron flux.