The Influence of shielding reinforcement in a vault with limited dimensions on the neutron dose equivalent in vicinity of medical electron linear accelerator
High energy electron linear accelerators (LINACs) producing photon beams with energies higher than 10 MeV are widely used in radiation therapy. In these beams, fast neutrons are generated, which results in undesired contamination of the therapeutic beam. In this study, measurements and Monte Carlo (MC) simulations were used to obtain neutron spectra and dose equivalents in vicinity of linear accelerator.
LINAC Siemens Oncor Expression in Osijek University Hospital is placed in vault that was previously used for 60Co machine. Then, the shielding of the vault was enhanced using lead and steel plates. Measurements of neutron dose equivalent around LINAC and the vault were done using CR-39 solid state nuclear track detectors. To compensate energy dependence of detectors, neutron energy spectra was calculated in measuring positions using MC simulations.
The vault is a source of photoneutrons, but a vast majority of neutrons originates from accelerator head. Neutron spectra obtained from MC simulations show significant changes between the measuring positions. Annual neutron dose equivalent per year was estimated to be less than 324 µSv in the measuring points outside of the vault.
Since detectors used in this paper are very dependent on neutron energy, it is extremely important to know the neutron spectra in measuring points. Though, patient dosimetry should include neutrons, estimated annual neutron doses outside the vault were far below exposure limit of ionizing radiation for workers.
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