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Simulation of measurements of radioactive releasesby the European Spallation Source (ESS) at Lunds universitet

Master's student thesis in physics

Simulation of measurements of radioactive releases in the environment by the European Spallation Source (ESS)

Spring 2023

Detailed studies are currently being undertaken to assess the potential radioactive releases from the European Spallation Source (ESS), a large neutron research facility under construction in Lund, Sweden. The ESS will produce neutrons using a powerful particle accelerator shooting protons on a tungsten target. The nuclear reactions will also produce many radioactive by-products that may be released in the environment after a severe accident.

In a recent project, the use of simulation tools to predict how real measurements would look in the case of actual radioactive releases by the ESS, was investigated. Our goal is to determine, in particular, if gamma-ray spectroscopy will be an appropriate technique for the measurements of the most harmful radionuclides. To do so, we intend to produce synthetic gamma spectra based on experimental measurements combined with simulated data using a web-based software package called Nucleonica.

The goal of this thesis work will be to participate to the development of a method to produce simulated gamma-ray spectra of ESS specific radionuclides in environmental samples like plants or water. The student will work at either Medical Radiation Physics in Malmö or at the Ångstrom laboratory in Uppsala. The main supervisor for the project will be based at the same institution as the student.

Desired qualifications are:

  • knowledge/training in Nuclear Physics;
  • strong interest for simulation;
  • some experience with gamma-ray spectroscopy is an advantage;
  • good skills in written and spoken English.

Work plan:

  • to produce background spectra for different type of samples such as plants or water based on existing data;
  • to simulate gamma-ray detectors and gamma-ray spectra of ESS specific radionuclides using Nucleonica;
  • to combine the experimental and simulated data into “semi-synthetic” gamma-ray spectra;
  • to analyse the semi-synthetic spectra and estimate the limits of detection for the most interesting radionuclides;
  • to design and optimize nuclide libraries in a commercial gamma spectrometry software for assessment in different time-windows after an accident at ESS
  • to write a report summarizing the results.

The degree project corresponds to 30 ECTS credits and can start during the spring 2023 semester (possibility to be extended to 60 credits).


Guillaume Pedehontaa-Hiaa [email protected]

Rob Frost [email protected]

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