loading page

Non-destructive interrogation of nuclear waste barrels through muon tomography: A Monte Carlo study based on dual-parameter analysis via GEANT4 simulations
  • Ahmet Ilker Topuz,
  • Madis Kiisk,
  • Andrea Giammanco
Ahmet Ilker Topuz
University of Tartu

Corresponding Author:ahmet.ilker.topuz@ut.ee

Author Profile
Madis Kiisk
University of Tartu
Author Profile
Andrea Giammanco
Université catholique de Louvain
Author Profile


The structural characterization of the sealed or shielded nuclear materials constitutes an indispensable aspect that necessitates a careful transportation, a limited interaction, and under certain circumstances an on-site investigation for the nuclear fields including but not limited to nuclear waste management, nuclear forensics, and nuclear proliferation. To attain this purpose, among the promising non-destructive/non-hazardous techniques that are performed for the interrogation of the nuclear materials is the muon tomography where the target materials are discriminated by the interplay between the atomic number, the material density, and the material thickness on the basis of the scattering angle and the absorption in the course of the muon propagation within the target volume. In this study, we employ the Monte Carlo simulations by using the GEANT4 code to demonstrate the capability of muon tomography based on the dual-parameter analysis in the examination of the nuclear waste barrels. Our current hodoscope setup consists of three top and three bottom plastic scintillators made of polyvinyl toluene with the thickness of 0.4 cm, and the composite target material is a cylindrical nuclear waste drum with the height of 96 cm and the radius of 29.6 cm where the outermost layer is stainless steel with the lateral thickness of 3.2 cm and the filling material is ordinary concrete that encapsulates the nuclear materials of dimensions 20×20×20 cm3. By simulating with a narrow planar muon beam of 1×1 cm 2 over the uniform energy interval between 0.1 and 8 GeV, we determine the variation of the average scattering angle together with the standard deviation by utilizing a 0.5-GeV bin length, the counts of the scattering angle by using a 1-mrad step, and the number of the absorption events for the five prevalent nuclear materials starting from cobalt and ending in plutonium. Via the duo-parametric analysis that is founded on the scattering angle as well as the absorption in the present study, we show that the presence of the nuclear materials in the waste barrels is numerically visible in comparison with the concrete-filled waste drum without any nuclear material, and the muon tomography is capable of distinguishing these nuclear materials by coupling the information about the scattering angle and the number of absorption in the cases where one of these two parameters yields strong similarity for certain nuclear materials.