Nuclear Energy Agency Online Bulletin

December 2000

Nuclear Science

International Conference on Advanced Monte Carlo for Radiation Physics, Particle Transport Simulation and Applications (Monte Carlo2000)

23-26 October 2000 IST Congress Centre, Lisbon, Portugal

The Monte Carlo2000 conference was the largest conference on this topic so far. It will have an impact on a wider and improved utilisation of the Monte Carlo methods for real-life applications. Monte Carlo2000 was devoted to application areas for all types of particles that have technological interest today for industrial nuclear and radiation applications, dosimetry and radiotherapy. The programme was split into 25 technical sessions plus two plenary sessions devoted to invited speakers and summaries of highlights and future perspectives. The printed proceedings will amount to 240 papers, plus a CD-ROM. The breakdown by areas of interest was as follows:

The conference was attended by 303 participants from 30 countries representing code developers, researchers, radiation physicists, industry, utilities and organisations involved in dosimetry and radiotherapy.

Monte Carlo methods have matured considerably, and are applied to a wide class of problems. This conference showed in particular the many aspects related to radiation transport. Their success comes not only from the highly precise modelling they can achieve, but also from the fact that they are very suitable to run on advanced computers effectively.

Unlike previous conferences, seminars and workshops on Monte Carlo methods, this one emphasised applications rather than methods. The conference provided insight into the versatility of the methods for a number of different nuclear applications, but also in the following areas: radiation physics applications; design of systems including beams, detectors and spectrometers; diagnostics; material damage studies; etc. There were an unexpectedly large number of electron-photon applications.

The presentation of recent developments in these modelling tools, how they are made available, and how they are used was of great interest to participants. In general, the attitude was that of sharing, while leaving the necessary space for high-level commercial services. The role of the NEA Data Bank and the Radiation Safety Information Computational Center (USA) in collecting, disseminating and preserving information while arranging training courses was judged of high value.

An unexpectedly large number of young scientists and researchers presented their work, showing that the radiation application area is attracting young scientists whose work is of a high quality.

In connection with the conference, a series of tutorials were delivered on topics addressed at the conference mainly for a student audience, including "junior" physicists and researchers.

Main topics of the technical sessions

Sessions on electron-photon problems

The ten sessions were devoted to electron and photon interaction physics/electron-photon transport mechanics, including: general purpose codes; methods (in particular variance reduction); microdosimetry; and above all, applications. Concerning applications, the following areas were covered: microdosimetry; radiobiological modelling; radiation-induced DNA damage; medical physics and applications; radiotherapy and its clinical implementation; radiosurgery; internal and external dosimetry; X-ray imaging; detector response simulation and optimisation; space applications; waste management; beam collimators; non-destructive evaluations; and radiation shield optimisation. It is expected that codes will become faster and user-friendlier in the future.

Sessions on neutron-gamma problems

The eight sessions were devoted to theory and methods addressing new developments such as: sensitivity and uncertainty analysis; perturbation theory; source convergence; variance reduction; hybrid Monte Carlo; and adjoint methods. The status of the general purpose and widely used codes were presented. Interpretation of experiments and measurements covered: benchmarks and uncertainty assessment; cross-section issues; and responses of neutron dosimeters. Applications covered: radiation shielding and shield design; PWR pressure vessel fluence and damage; BWR fluence; core neutronics; pebble bed reactors; criticality; reactor core calculations; burn-up and isotopic depletion; beam tube design; accelerator-driven systems; fusion blanket and shield; neutron capture therapy; gamma ray spectrometry; dose estimation; and oil well logging. Visualisation of geometries and of simulation results has become very sophisticated and help improve understanding and result diagnosis.

Sessions on hadron interaction problems

The seven sessions covered the following areas: the latest status of hadron transport computer codes; the physics model calculation and data compilations including cross-section modelling and hadronic collisions; generalised evaporation and fission models; ion track structure; integral (thick target) data, heavy ions, baryon stopping, multiple scattering of charged particles, and photo-nuclear cascade evaporation. Experiments and benchmarks covered: transport through very thick concrete and iron for heavy ion accelerators, spallation-induced reactions on lead and mercury targets, stopping power of ions in matter, and residual nuclide production data. The sessions on applications covered: the design of the spallation neutron source; the design of accelerator-driven systems; proton beam radiation therapy; the effects on microelectronics devices; fast ion dynamics; carbon ion radiotherapy; neutron shielding for proton therapy; secondary particle yields; spectrometers; and the simulation of neutron time of flight facilities. The three high intensity spallation source projects will continue to provide incentives for strong activity and developments in this field. A need to improve the physics in intranuclear cascade models was identified.

Next conference

Participants recommended that due to the success of the Lisbon conference and its particularly attractive format, this type of conference should be held at regular intervals. As recent conferences and seminars on this subject have been mostly in Europe, possible candidates for the next such conference are Japan and the USA. An international committee should be set up to seek a new location and time for future Monte Carlo conferences and to advise on a programme in line with major needs expressed in the participating countries. The next Monte Carlo conference could be scheduled some time between 2003 and 2005.


The Conference's General Chairman was Dr. Masayuki Nakagawa from the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI) and its Technical Programme Co-ordinator Dr. Pedro Vaz. The conference was organised and hosted jointly by several Portuguese establishments: Instituto Tecnológico e Nuclear (ITN); Instituto Superior Técnico (IST); Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas (LIP) and others. The conference was co-organised at the international level by the OECD/NEA, and co-sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Radiation Safety Information Computational Center (RSICC), the Atomic Energy Society of Japan (AESJ), and the American Nuclear Society (ANS).

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