Nuclear Data for Transmutation Problem
Nuclear-Physics Investigations Aimed at the Solution of Weapon Plutonium Conversion and Long-Lived Radioactive Wastes Transmutation Problems
Tech Area / Field
- PHY-ANU/Atomic and Nuclear Physics/Physics
8 Project completed
Senior Project Manager
Svetlova A V
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov
- VNIIKhT (Chemical Technology), Russia, Moscow\nITEF (ITEP), Russia, Moscow\nKhlopin Radium Institute, Russia, St Petersburg
- JAERI / Accelerator Radiation Laboratory, Japan, Tokai Mura
Project summaryThis new project is aimed at experimental, theoretical and computer-aided nucleonic researches with a view of weapon plutonium conversion and long-lived radioactive waste transmutation in electronuclear facilities based on strong-current accelerators.
The proposed research work is essentially an extension of the work under the ISTC#17 Project on "Feasibility Study of Technologies for Accelerator Based Conversion of Military Plutonium and Long-Lived Radioactive Waste". It should be noted that the new project will use the methods, the equipment, the experimental samples, and the computational techniques designed, manufactured, or purchased during the implementation of Project#17.
The following experiments are expected to make:
- studying the kinetic characteristics of Pb-Bi eutectic melts and multi-salt (fluorine) to be used in the blankets of facilities intended for transmuting actinides and radioactive wastes
- measuring the fission characteristics (integral cross sections in the spectra of fast and intermediate neutrons, etc.) of a great number of the Np, Pu, Am, and Cm isotopes
- measuring the thermal cross sections for neutron-induced fission and radioactive capture of 238Np (T1/2 = 2.12 d)
- measuring spectra of prompt fission neutrons from the Th, U, Np, and Pu irradiated by 40-200 MeV protons
- measuring the spectral characteristics of secondaries emitted from targets under 0.5-2.0 GeV proton bombardment
- measuring the production cross sections of stable and long-lived residual nuclei in proton interactions with various light nuclei
- studying the neutron fields on the external surfaces of «thick» targets of different geometries and compositions that simulate the electronuclear facility target assemblies.
Researches with validation and verification of nuclear constants will include:
- supplementing the pioneer version of Transmutation Evaluated Nuclear Data Library (TENDL) with the data on structural and technological materials
- comparing the experimental integral cross sections with the validation and verification data
- perfecting the codes for calculations of group constants from the data of TENDL and other libraries in the ENDF/B format.
The aim of the theoretical studies under the new project is to computer-simulate the nuclear constants that are impossible, or very difficult, to measure at laboratory.
The experiments will be made using:
- a set of the FKBN fast critical assemblies, BIGR, BIR, and other fast pulse reactors (Russia Federal Nuclear Center All-Russia Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics, VNIIEF)
- the EGP-10 electrostatic charge-exchange accelerator (Russia Federal Nuclear Center All-Russia Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics, VNIIEF)
- the МАКЕТ zero-power heavy water reactor (State Scientific Center of Russian Federation-Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, ITEP)
- the proton synchrotron of up to 10 GeV (State Scientific Center of Russian Federation-Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, ITEP)
- the proton cyclotron of up to 200 MeV (Uppsala University, Sweden)
- the very extensive set of high-enriched trans-uranic samples prepared with the SM-2 electromagnetic separator (Russia Federal Nuclear Center All-Russia Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics, VNIIEF) under Project#17.
The realization of the new project is expected:
- to yield much more accurate characteristics of generation and three-dimensional propagation of secondary neutrons from proton-irradiated targets that simulate the electronuclear facility target assemblies
- to obtain some of yet unknown fission characteristics, and to raise the accuracy the known fission characteristics, of the trans-uranic isotopes whose transmutation into their fission products is sought for urgently by the present-day nucleonic technologies.
It should be noted that the kinetic neutron characteristics of the multi-salt melts comprising the actinide isotopes have not studied at large yet.
The studies of the fission and nuclear-spectrometry characteristics of odd-odd nuclei (238Np, 242gAm, etc.) may probably help to find some of their unknown isomeric states. So, the new project will not only resolve the transmutation-related technological problems, but also contribute to the fundamentals of nucleonics.
More than 80% of the participators to the new project were engaged earlier in designing, manufacturing, and testing nuclear weapon and in other nuclear weapon-associated fields. The high experience they gained in the nuclear weapon researches, together with their experience under Project#17, makes sure that the new project will make it possible to go much farther towards resolving the overall problem of weapon plutonium conversion and long-lived radioactive was.te transmutation.
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