Modeling of Air Attenuation Effects on Gamma Detection at Altitude


R. Detwiler, R. Maurer


This paper focuses on modeling the detection capabilities of NaI sensor systems at high altitudes for ground sources. The modeling was done with the Monte Carlo N-Transport (MCNP) code developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The specific systems modeled were the fixed wing and helicopter aircraft sensor systems, assets of the U. S Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Operations Office (NNSA/NV) Aerial Measuring System (AMS). In previous (2001) modeling*, Sodium Iodide (NaI) detector responses were simulated for both point and distributed surface sources as a function of gamma energy and altitude. For point sources, photo-peak efficiencies were calculated for a zero radial distance and an offset equal to the altitude. For distributed sources approximating an infinite plane, gross count efficiencies were calculated and normalized to a uniform surface deposition of 1 microCi/m2. To validate the calculations, benchmark measurements were made for simple source-detector configurations. The 2002 continuation of the modeling presented here includes checking models against available data, and modifications to allow more effective and accurate directional biasing of ground point and distributed sources. Fixed-wing data results will be shown for two point sources as a function of altitude.


This abstract was presented at the 36th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Radiation Safety Aspects of Homeland Security and Emergency Response", Environmental Detection and Considerations in Homeland Defense Session, 1/26/2003 - 1/29/2003, held in San Antonio, TX.

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