Experimental Nuclear-Physics Data for Transmutation
Experimental Researches of Nuclear-Physics Characteristics of Materials Essential for the Processes of Weapon Plutonium Utilization and Radioactive Wastes Transmutation
Tech Area / Field
- FIR-NOT/Nuclear and Other Technical Data/Fission Reactors
- ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment
- FIR-EXP/Experiments/Fission Reactors
8 Project completed
Senior Project Manager
Tocheny L V
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov
- MIFI, Russia, Moscow\nITEF (ITEP), Russia, Moscow
- Los-Alamos National Laboratory, USA, NM, Los-Alamos
Project summaryThe project is aimed at experiments and simulations in the field of nuclear physics with a view to conversion of weapon plutonium and transmutation of long-lived radioactive wastes in ADS facilities driven by high-current accelerators.
The proposed researches are largely an extension of the researches carried out under the ISTC Project #17 titled «Feasibility Study of Technologies for Accelerator-Based Conversion of Military Plutonium and Long-Lived Radioactive Wastes» and ISTC Project #1145 «Nuclear - physics investigations aimed at the solution of weapon plutonium conversion and long-lived radioactive wastes transmutation problems». It should be noted that the present Project will use the methods, techniques, equipment, experimental samples, software, and hardware that have been developed, manufactured, and purchased under Projects #17 and #1145.
The following experiments are proposed:
– studying the kinetic characteristics of the Pb-Bi eutectics that can be used in an ADS facility blanket to transmute actinides and radioactive wastes;
– measuring the fission characteristics (resonance integrals, integral cross sections for the various sources of fast and intermediate neutrons, etc.) of a great number of Ne, Pu, Am, and Cm isotopes;
– measuring the cross sections for 242gAm (T1/2 @ 16.02 hours) fission and radioactive capture by neutrons near the thermal point;
– measuring the spectral characteristics of the secondaries outgoing from the 0.5-2.0 GeV proton-irradiated targets;
– studying the neutron fields on the outside surfaces of “thick” targets of different compositions and geometries that simulate an ADS facility target;
– measuring the double differential spectra of instantaneous fission neutrons in 50-100 MeV proton-irradiated Np and Pu isotopes;
– compilation of a database for the experimental cross sections and differential spectra on the basis of the above measurements and experimental data from elsewhere.
The theoretical studies under the proposed project will be aimed at estimating the nuclear constants that are impossible, or very difficult to measure at laboratories.
The following equipment will be used in the experiments:
– critical facility FKBN, fast pulsed reactors – BIGR, BIR etc. (VNIIEF);
– electrostatic changing accelerator EGP-10 (VNIIEF);
– ITEP U10 proton synchrotron with up to 10GeV proton energy;
– thermal research reactor (IRT, MEPhI);
– cyclotron with proton energy up to 200 MeV(Uppsala University, Sweden);
– use will be made also of the large set of high-enriched transuranic isotope samples produced with the SM-2 electromagnetic separator (VNIIEF) under Projects #17 and #1145.
The following characteristics are expected to be specified in implementing the proposed project:
– the production characteristics and space distribution of secondary neutrons from the various proton-irradiated targets that are used to imitate the ADS facility targets;
– the fission characteristics of a great number of the heavy isotopes, whose transmutation into fission products is a task in hand for nuclear technologies.
It should be noted that the neutron kinetic characteristics of the Pb-Bi eutectics that encompass the actinide isotope samples have not yet been studied largely.
The researches into the fission and nuclear-spectroscopy characteristics of the odd-odd nuclei like 232Pa, 238Np, 242gAm, etc. may make it possible to find some still unknown isomeric states of the isotopes. Thus, apart from the pure technological impact on the transmutation problems, the proposed project may contribute much to the fundamental nuclear physics.
More than 4/5 of the participants to the proposed project were formerly nuclear weapon scientists. Their experience and skill gained in the weaponry and in implementing Projects #17 and #1145 shed firm confidence in that the proposed project will much facilitate tackling the weapon plutonium conversion and the transmutation of long-lived radioactive wastes.