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Neutron Source Based on Electron Acceleration for Transmutation


Experimental Investigations of Radioactive Waste Transmutation Technology with Electron-Accelerator-Driven Neutron Source (E-ADTT)

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment
  • PHY-ANU/Atomic and Nuclear Physics/Physics

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Khlopin Radium Institute, Russia, St Petersburg


  • University of Jyväskylä, Finland, Jyväskylä\nTexas A&M University System, USA, TX, College Station

Project summary

Accelerator-driven system (ADS) technologies of radioactive waste transmutation, mainly of minor actinides and long-lived fission products, are worldwide discussed now and based as a rule on proton beams with energies 200-2000 MeV and W, Pb, Bi and Pb-Bi neutron-generating spallation targets. Alternative way of ADS transmutation is to apply electron accelerators with fissile or other neutron-generating targets or direct application of γ-induced fission reactions for transmutation of minor actinides. In spite of lower neutron productivity, electron drivers have a number of advantages over proton machines, first of all due to lower cost of electron accelerators, their compactness, safety and reliability as well as due to dispersed interactions of electron bremstrahlung within target volume allowing to increase the useful volume of neutron-generating target and reduce the pressure of thermal load problem.

The immobilization of highly-toxic waste in ceramic matrices of composites having natural analogues (zircon, granat) is now generally recognized. Waste transmutation in matrices directly reduces sufficiently a number of difficulties arising at following storage of transmuted elements. However a lot of questions to be solved on this road – radiation effects on matrices, their activation, rates of actinide transmutation and so on and to find answers on these principal for development of ADS-transmutation technology questions the irradiation of matrices doped by minor actinides is necessary with neutrons produced by external beam.

It is proposed in the given project:

  1. Construction of neutron source based on photonuclear reactions in different targets with compact electron driver of V.G.Khlopin Radium Institute (microtron MT-25, beam energy and current up to 25 MeV and 50 microampere, correspondingly;
  2. Development and optimization (in experiments and calculations) of neutron-generating targets using
    • deuteron breakup reaction – heavy water targets with beryllium, carbon or lead reflectors;
    • (γ,n) reactions with metal targets (Ta, W, Ti) with beryllium, carbon, lead or heavy water reflectors.
3. Investigation of transient processes arising in matrices doped with actinides of high concentrations irradiated by neutrons of different spectra or bremsstrahlung photons;
4. Investigation of radiation resistance of matrices, their activation and transmutation rates of minor actinides in different neutron spectra, formed by various combination of neutron-generating targets and reflectors as well as in bremsstrahlung radiation field to optimize the transmutation process (maximal rates at minimal radiation damage);
5. Development of database on the problems in question in order to proceed in future to construction of prototype of facility based on high-current accelerators

Experts of V.G.Khlopin Radium Institute have a large experience and necessary experimental and computer infrastructure for solution of problems indicated. In spite of relatively low productivity of the microtron, its application as an electron driver allows to reduce significantly the cost of research and development and carry out whole volume of planned investigations.


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