106 research outputs found

    Radiative capture on 242Pu for MOX fuel reactors

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    Proposal: Radiative capture on 242Pu for MOX fuel reactorsThe use of MOX fuel (mixed-oxide fuel made of UO2 and PuO2) in nuclear reactors allows substituting a large fraction of the enriched Uranium by Plutonium reprocessed from spent fuel. Indeed around 66% of the plutonium from spent fuel is made of 239Pu and 241Pu, which are fissile in thermal reactors. A typical reactor of this type uses a fuel with 7% reprocessed Pu and 93% depleted U, thus profiting from both the spent fuel and the remaining 238U following the 235U enrichment. With the use of such new fuel compositions rich in Pu the better knowledge of the capture and fission cross sections of the Pu isotopes becomes very important. This is clearly stated in the recent OECD NEA’s “High Priority Request List” and in the WPEC-26 “Uncertainty and target accuracy assessment for innovative systems using recent covariance data evaluations” report. In particular, a new series of cross section evaluations have been recently carried out jointly by the European (JEFF) and United States (ENDF) nuclear data agencies. As the new evaluations on 240Pu and 241Am have been already completed, 242Pu is the next to be reevaluated, and the scarceness of capture data (only two TOF measurements from 1973 and 1976 are available and disagree with each other) calls for a new time-of flight capture cross section measurement. This will be the first measurement in 40 years and, with the use of more advanced techniques, shall provide a more reliable and accurate result. We propose to measure the capture cross section of 242Pu in the region from thermal up to at least 60 keV, aiming for a high energy limit of 500 keV. The experiment would make use of an array of 4 low neutron sensitivity C6D6 detectors and be carried out at the n_TOF EAR-1 (185 m flight path) measuring station. Compared to the current uncertainty of 35%, this measurement aims at an improved accuracy between 7% and 12% depending on the energy region.Preprin

    First measurement of the 94Nb(n,Îł) cross section at the CERN n_TOF facility

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    One of the crucial ingredients for the improvement of stellar models is the accurate knowledge of neutron capture cross-sections for the different isotopes involved in the s-,r- and i- processes. These measurements can shed light on existing discrepancies between observed and predicted isotopic abundances and help to constrain the physical conditions where these reactions take place along different stages of stellar evolution. In the particular case of the radioactive 94Nb, the 94Nb(n,γ) cross-section could play a role in the determination of the s-process production of 94Mo in AGB stars, which presently cannot be reproduced by state-of-the-art stellar models. There are no previous 94Nb(n,γ) experimental data for the resolved and unresolved resonance regions mainly due to the difficulties in producing highquality samples and also due to limitations in conventional detection systems commonly used in time-of-flight experiments. Motivated by this situation, a first measurement of the 94Nb(n,γ) reaction was carried out at CERN n_TOF, thereby exploiting the high luminosity of the EAR2 area in combination with a new detection system of small-volume C6D6-detectors and a high quality 94Nb-sample. The latter was based on hyper-pure 93Nb material activated at the high-flux reactor of ILL-Grenoble. An innovative ring-configuration detection system in close geometry around the capture sample allowed us to significantly enhance the signal-to-background ratio. This set-up was supplemented with two conventional C6D6-detectors and a highresolution LaCl3(Ce)-detector, which will be employed for addressing reliably systematic effects and uncertainties. At the current status of the data analysis, 18 resonance in 94Nb+n have been observed for the first time in the neutron energy range from thermal up to 10 keV.European Research Council (ERC)European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (ERC Consolidator Grant project HYMNS, with grant agreement No. 681740)ICJ220-045122-IMCIN/AEI/ 10.13039/501100011033European Union NextGenerationEU/PRTRSpanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación under grants PID2019-104714GB-C21, FPA2017-83946-C2-1-P, FIS2015-71688-ERCCSICPIE-201750I2

    Measurement of the neutron capture cross section of the fissile isotope 235U with the CERN n_TOF Total Absorption Calorimeter and a fission tagging based on micromegas detectors

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    Actual and future nuclear technologies require more accurate nuclear data on the (n, gamma) cross sections and -ratios of fissile isotopes. Their measurement presents several difficulties, mainly related to the strong fission gamma-ray background competing with the weaker gamma-ray cascades used as the experimental signature of the (n,gamma) process. A specific setup has been used at the CERN n_TOF facility in 2012 for the measurement of the (n,gamma) cross section and alpha-ratios of fissile isotopes and used for the case of the 235U isotope. The setup consists in a set of micromegas fission detectors surrounding 235U samples and placed inside the segmented BaF2 Total Absorption Calorimeter.Postprint (published version

    Thermal neutron background at Laboratorio Subterráneo de Canfranc (LSC)

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    The thermal neutron background at Laboratorio Subterráneo de Canfranc (LSC) has been determined using several He proportional counter detectors. Bare and Cd shielded counters were used in a series of long measurements. Pulse shape discrimination techniques were applied to discriminate between neutron and gamma signals as well as other intrinsic contributions. Montecarlo simulations allowed us to estimate the sensitivity of the detectors and calculate values for the background flux of thermal neutrons inside Hall-A of LSC. The obtained value is (3.5±0.8)×10 n/cms, and is within an order of magnitude compared to similar facilities.This work was supported partially by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación and its Plan Nacional de I+D+i de Física de Partículas projects: FPA2016-76765-P and FPA2018-096717-B-C21. The authors want to acknowledge the help provided by the staff at LSC in the preparation and support for this work

    Measurement of the α ratio and (n, γ) cross section of 235U from 0.2 to 200 eV at n_TOF

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    We measured the neutron capture-to-fission cross-section ratio (α ratio) and the capture cross section of 235U between 0.2 and 200 eV at the n_TOF facility at CERN. The simultaneous measurement of neutron-induced capture and fission rates was performed by means of the n_TOF BaF2 Total Absorption Calorimeter (TAC), used for detection of γ rays, in combination with a set of micromegas detectors used as fission tagging detectors. The energy dependence of the capture cross section was obtained with help of the 6 Li(n,t) standard reaction determining the n_TOF neutron fluence; the well-known integral of the 235U(n, f ) cross section between 7.8 and 11 eV was then used for its absolute normalization. The α ratio, obtained with slightly higher statistical fluctuations, was determined directly, without need for any reference cross section. To perform the analysis of this measurement we developed a new methodology to correct the experimentally observed effect that the probabilities of detecting a fission reaction in the TAC and the micromegas detectors are not independent. The results of this work have been used in a new evaluation of 235U performed within the scope of the Collaborative International Evaluated Library Organisation (CIELO) Project, and are consistent with the ENDF/B-VIII.0 and JEFF-3.3 capture cross sections below 4 eV and above 100 eV. However, the measured capture cross section is on average 10% larger between 4 and 100 eV.Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad de España. FPA2014-53290-C2-1, FPA2016-76765- P y FPA2017-82647-P7º Programa Marco CHANDA de la Comisión Europea. FP7-60520

    The n-TOF facility: Neutron beams for challenging future measurements at CERN

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    The CERN n_TOF neutron beam facility is characterized by a very high instantaneous neutron flux, excellent TOF resolution at the 185 m long flight path (EAR-1), low intrinsic background and coverage of a wide range of neutron energies, from thermal to a few GeV. These characteristics provide a unique possibility to perform high-accuracy measurements of neutron-induced reaction cross-sections and angular distributions of interest for fundamental and applied Nuclear Physics. Since 2001, the n_TOF Collaboration has collected a wealth of high quality nuclear data relevant for nuclear astrophysics, nuclear reactor technology, nuclear medicine, etc. The overall efficiency of the experimental program and the range of possible measurements has been expanded with the construction of a second experimental area (EAR-2), located 20 m on the vertical of the n_TOF spallation target. This upgrade, which benefits from a neutron flux 30 times higher than in EAR-1, provides a substantial extension in measurement capabilities, opening the possibility to collect data on neutron cross-section of isotopes with short half-lives or available in very small amounts. This contribution will outline the main characteristics of the n_TOF facility, with special emphasis on the new experimental area. In particular, we will discuss the innovative features of the EAR-2 neutron beam that make possible to perform very challenging measurements on short-lived radioisotopes or sub-mg samples, out of reach up to now at other neutron facilities around the world. Finally, the future perspectives of the facility will be presented

    The measurement programme at the neutron time-of-flight facility n-TOF at CERN

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    Neutron-induced reaction cross sections are important for a wide variety of research fields ranging from the study of nuclear level densities, nucleosynthesis to applications of nuclear technology like design, and criticality and safety assessment of existing and future nuclear reactors, radiation dosimetry, medical applications, nuclear waste transmutation, accelerator-driven systems and fuel cycle investigations. Simulations and calculations of nuclear technology applications largely rely on evaluated nuclear data libraries. The evaluations in these libraries are based both on experimental data and theoretical models. CERN’s neutron time-of-flight facility n_TOF has produced a considerable amount of experimental data since it has become fully operational with the start of its scientific measurement programme in 2001. While for a long period a single measurement station (EAR1) located at 185 m from the neutron production target was available, the construction of a second beam line at 20 m (EAR2) in 2014 has substantially increased the measurement capabilities of the facility. An outline of the experimental nuclear data activities at n_TOF will be presented

    Measurement of the α ratio and (n, γ) cross section of 235U from 0.2 to 200 eV at n_TOF

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    We measured the neutron capture-to-fission cross-section ratio (α ratio) and the capture cross section of 235U between 0.2 and 200 eV at the n_TOF facility at CERN. The simultaneous measurement of neutron-induced capture and fission rates was performed by means of the n_TOF BaF2 Total Absorption Calorimeter (TAC), used for detection of γ rays, in combination with a set of micromegas detectors used as fission tagging detectors. The energy dependence of the capture cross section was obtained with help of the 6 Li(n,t) standard reaction determining the n_TOF neutron fluence; the well-known integral of the 235U(n, f ) cross section between 7.8 and 11 eV was then used for its absolute normalization. The α ratio, obtained with slightly higher statistical fluctuations, was determined directly, without need for any reference cross section. To perform the analysis of this measurement we developed a new methodology to correct the experimentally observed effect that the probabilities of detecting a fission reaction in the TAC and the micromegas detectors are not independent. The results of this work have been used in a new evaluation of 235U performed within the scope of the Collaborative International Evaluated Library Organisation (CIELO) Project, and are consistent with the ENDF/B-VIII.0 and JEFF-3.3 capture cross sections below 4 eV and above 100 eV. However, the measured capture cross section is on average 10% larger between 4 and 100 eV.This work was supported in part by the Spanish national company for radioactive waste management, ENRESA, through the CIEMAT-ENRESA agreements on “Transmutación de radionucleidos de vida larga como soporte a la gestión de residuos radioactivos de alta actividad”; by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad, through the projects FPA2014-53290-C2-1, FPA2016-76765- P, and FPA2017-82647-P; and by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme project CHANDA (Grant No. FP7-605203)

    Recent highlights and prospects on (n,Îł\gamma) measurements at the CERN n_TOF facility

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    Neutron capture cross-section measurements are fundamental in the study of the slow neutron capture (s-) process of nucleosynthesis and for the development of innovative nuclear technologies. One of the best suited methods to measure radiative neutron capture (n,Îł\gamma) cross sections over the full stellar range of interest for all the applications is the time-of-flight (TOF) technique. Overcoming the current experimental limitations for TOF measurements, in particular on low mass unstable samples, requires the combination of facilities with high instantaneous flux, such as the CERN n_TOF facility, with detection systems with an enhanced detection sensitivity and high counting rate capabilities. This contribution presents a summary about the recent highlights in the field of (n,Îł\gamma) measurements at n_TOF. The recent upgrades in the facility and in new detector concepts for (n,\g) measurements are described. Last, an overview is given on the existing limitations and prospects for TOF measurements involving unstable targets and the outlook for activation measurements at the brand new high-flux n_TOF-NEAR station.Comment: 7 pages, 5 figures (8 panels). Proceedings of the CGS-17 conference. To be published in EPJ Web of Conference
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