Production of a datolite-based heavy concrete for shielding nuclear reactors and megavoltage radiotherapy rooms

S Mortazavi, M Mosleh-Shirazi, M Baradaran-Ghahfarokhi, Z Siavashpour, A Farshadi, M Ghafoori, A Shahvar, Mohammad Seyed, Mortazavi
Biological shielding of nuclear reactors has always been a great concern and decreasing the complexity and expense of these installations is of great interest. In this study, we used datolite and galena (DaGa) minerals for production of a high performance heavy concrete. Materials and Methods: Datolite and galena minerals which can be found in many parts of Iran were used in the concrete mix design. To measure the gamma radiation attenuation of the DaGa concrete samples, they were exposed to
more » ... h narrow and wide beams of gamma rays emitted from a cobalt-60 radiotherapy unit. An Am-Be neutron source was used for assessing the shielding properties of the samples against neutrons. To test the compression strengths, both types of concrete mixes (DaGa and ordinary concrete) were investigated. Results: The concrete samples had a density of 4420-4650 kg/m 3 compared to that of ordinary concrete (2300-2500 kg/m 3) or barite high-density concrete (up to 3500 kg/m 3). The measured half value layer thickness of the DaGa concrete samples for cobalt-60 gamma rays was much less than that of ordinary concrete (2.56 cm compared to 6.0 cm). Furthermore, the galena concrete samples had a significantly higher compressive strength as well as 20% more neutron absorption. Conclusion: The DaGa concrete samples showed good shielding/ engineering properties in comparison with other reported samples made, using high-density materials other than depleted uranium. It is also more economic than the high-density concretes. DaGa concrete may be a suitable option for shielding nuclear reactors and megavoltage radiotherapy rooms. Iran. J. Radiat. Res., 2010; 8 (1): 11­15