CREATION OF FEMALE COMPUTATIONAL PHANTOMS FOR CALIBRATION OF LUNG COUNTERS

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Abstract

Plutonium isotopes are of high concern because they lead to high doses. In case of contamination, the activity burden inside the lungs should be assessed accurately. Many studies showed that the presence of breasts has a substantial influence on lung counting efficiencies. Currently, the calibration of most lung counting systems is done by means of physical phantoms representing only male chests. A set of female computational phantoms has been developed in order to provide gender-specific efficiency calibrations for the 241Am gamma emission (59.54 keV). The phantoms were created starting from a library of female chest phantoms provided by Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire (IRSN) (Farah, J. Amélioration des mesures anthroporadiamétriques personnalisées assistées par calcul Monte Carlo: optimisation des temps de calculs et méthodologie de mesure pour l'établissement de la répartition d'activite. PhD Thesis, 2011). While the IRSN phantoms represent a supine measurement position, the SCK•CEN lung counter set-up requires the persons to be sitting in a chair. Using open-source software, the breast shapes of the original phantoms have been recreated to simulate the drooping of breasts in vertical sitting position. A Monte Carlo approach was chosen for calculating calibration coefficients for female lung counting. The results obtained with MCNPx 2.7 simulations showed a significant decrease in the detection efficiency. For bigger bust and breast sizes, the detection efficiency showed to be up to 10 times lower than the ones measured with the Livermore male torso phantom.

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