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Water as a gamma radiation shielding

In short, effective shielding of gamma radiation is in most cases based on use of materials with two following material properties:

  • the high-density of material
  • the high atomic number of material  (high Z materials)
Table of Half Value Layers (in cm)
Table of Half Value Layers (in cm) for different materials at gamma-ray energies of 100, 200, and 500 keV.

Although water is neither high density nor high Z material, it is commonly used as gamma shields. Water provides a radiation shielding of fuel assemblies in a spent fuel pool during storage or transports from and into the reactor core. Although water is a low-density material and low Z material, it is commonly used in nuclear power plants because these disadvantages can be compensated with increased thickness.

Half Value Layer of Water

The half-value layer expresses the thickness of absorbing material needed to reduce the incident radiation intensity by a factor of two.

Table of Half Value Layers (in cm) for a different materials at gamma ray energies of 100, 200 and 500 keV.

Reactor Physics and Thermal Hydraulics:
  1. J. R. Lamarsh, Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Theory, 2nd ed., Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA (1983).
  2. J. R. Lamarsh, A. J. Baratta, Introduction to Nuclear Engineering, 3d ed., Prentice-Hall, 2001, ISBN: 0-201-82498-1.
  3. W. M. Stacey, Nuclear Reactor Physics, John Wiley & Sons, 2001, ISBN: 0- 471-39127-1.
  4. Glasstone, Sesonske. Nuclear Reactor Engineering: Reactor Systems Engineering, Springer; 4th edition, 1994, ISBN: 978-0412985317
  5. Todreas Neil E., Kazimi Mujid S. Nuclear Systems Volume I: Thermal Hydraulic Fundamentals, Second Edition. CRC Press; 2 edition, 2012, ISBN: 978-0415802871
  6. Zohuri B., McDaniel P. Thermodynamics in Nuclear Power Plant Systems. Springer; 2015, ISBN: 978-3-319-13419-2
  7. Moran Michal J., Shapiro Howard N. Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics, Fifth Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2006, ISBN: 978-0-470-03037-0
  8. Kleinstreuer C. Modern Fluid Dynamics. Springer, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4020-8670-0.
  9. U.S. Department of Energy, THERMODYNAMICS, HEAT TRANSFER, AND FLUID FLOW. DOE Fundamentals Handbook, Volume 1, 2, and 3. June 1992.

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