RANKERN - A Point-Kernel program for gamma ray transport solutions

The RANKERN package assists users with gamma radiation transport problems in shield design, dosimetry and industrial applications.

The Software

The RANKERN code provides a rapid method for the design and assessment of gammaray shielding and dosimetry. RANKERN is suitable for determining dose-rates through shield materials, in ducts and labyrinths and from skyshine and has a wide-range of applications within the nuclear power industry and other market sectors.

RANKERN utilises the point-kernel technique coupled with build up factors to correct the un-collided flux for the contribution due to scattering. The code uses a powerful and flexible threedimensional geometry modelling package to enable even complicated geometry systems to be described with minimum effort, or imported directly from CAD files (evaluation feature). The same geometry package is used in the MONK and MCBEND codes, allowing easy transfer between them.

RANKERN can also model any number of source bodies with different shapes, dimensions, orientations and spectra, within a single calculation. The integration of the point-kernel over the spatial distribution of the source is carried out using a stochastic integration method, which employs an automatic technique for adjusting the source importance function. Another benefit is RANKERN’s ability to treat penetration paths involving multiple flight scatter or reflection events.

The code has a series of self-contained libraries; these include: a gamma-ray cross section data library for all elements, a set of cross section data for standard materials, libraries of Taylor form polynomial buildup factors and ANS643 build-up factors for common materials, an albedo data library and 22 and 180 energy group activation and fission product gamma-ray source libraries. For multi-layered shields, buildup factors can also be calculated ‘on the fly’, using diffusion theory.

Strong Customer Focus

ANSWERS® has a strong global customer base, with clients in more than 30 countries around the world, including the USA, China, Japan and across Europe.

Interaction with our customers, understanding their requirements and listening to their feedback, is an important part of our mission to continuously develop and improve our software.

Customers have access to dedicated hotline support, by telephone and e-mail. Training courses are available, and bespoke/on-site training can be arranged if required.


  • RANKERN reduces costs by optimising resource utilisation and capability.
  • The combination of a powerful geometry modelling package, flexible source descriptions and supporting data libraries make for an effective, efficient, yet easy-to-use package.

Model Verification Code

Visual Workshop provides all the functionality of a 2D and 3D visualisation tool in an interactive environment. Visual Workshop also provides a wire-frame representation of a model, enabling component location and orientation to be quickly verified. The locations of scatter and reflection bodies can also be overlaid.

Visual Workshop produces images directly from the geometry package of RANKERN and hence displays exactly the geometry encountered by the sampled particles. When performing calculations with meshes of points, Visual Workshop can plot dose contours overlaying the body.

What can RANKERN be used for?

RANKERN has been successfully applied to such problems as:

  • Shield design and optimisation for reactor and process plant
  • Prediction of operational personnel dose levels
  • Fuel storage facilities
  • Indirect penetration of radiation along ducts
  • Design studies for fissile material transport containers
  • New and spent fuel transportation both within countries and between countries
  • Waste packaging and management planning
  • Decommissioning preparation and planning
  • Analysis of the effects of radiation transmission by skyshine
  • Sterilisation of products and food by irradiation
  • Self-attenuation in sealed radiography sources
  • Half thickness values for shielding materials

What hardware is RANKERN available on?

RANKERN is available for both Windows and Linux. See the system requirements here.

Where do I find out more?

For a more detailed view have a look at a few technical papers.

For further information contact the ANSWERS Customer Support Team.

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