Patents – Eugene P. Wigner

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US 2,830,944 NEUTRONIC REACTOR – Wigner, E. P.; Weinberg, A. W.; Young, G. J.; Apr 15, 1958 (to the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission)
A nuclear reactor which uses uranium in the form of elongated tubes as fuel elements and liquid as a coolant is described. Elongated tubular uranium bodies are vertically disposed in an efficient neutron slowing agent, such as graphite, for example, to form a lattice structure which is disposed between upper and lower coolant tanks. Fluid coolant tubes extend through the uranium bodies and communicate with the upper and lower tanks and serve to convey the coolant through the uranium body. The reactor is also provided with means for circulating the cooling fluid through the coolant tanks and coolant tubes, suitable neutron and gamma ray shields, and control means.

US 2,831,806 NEUTRONIC REACTOR – Wigner, E. P.; Apr 22, 1958 (to the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission)
A nuclear reactor for isotope production is described. This reactor is designed to provide a maximum thermal neutron flux in a region adjacent to the periphery of the reactor rather than in the center of the reactor. The core of the reactor is generally centrally located with respect tn a surrounding first reflector, constructed of beryllium. The beryllium reflector is surrounded by a second reflector, constructed of graphite, which, in turn, is surrounded by a conventional thermal shield. Water is circulated through the core and the reflector and functions both as a moderator and a coolant. In order to produce a greater maximum thermal neutron flux adjacent to the periphery of the reactor rather than in the core, the reactor is designed so that the ratio of neutron scattering cross section to neutron absorption cross section averaged over all of the materials in the reflector is approximately twice the ratio of neutron scattering cross section to neutron absorption cross section averaged over all of the material of the core of the reactor.

US 2,832,732 FUEL ASSEMBLY FOR A NEUTRONIC REACTOR – Wigner, E. P.; Apr 29, 1958 (to the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission)
A fuel assembly for a nuclear reactor of the type wherein liquid coolant is circulated through the core of the reactor in contact with the external surface of the fuel elements is described. In this design a plurality of parallel plates containing fissionable material are spaced about one-tenth of an inch apart and are supported between a pair of spaced parallel side members generally perpendicular to the plates. The plates all have a small continuous and equal curvature in the same direction between the side members.

US 2,833,800 PROCESS FOR PURIFYING PLUTONIUM – Mastick, D. F.; Wigner, E. P.; May 6, 1958 (to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission)
A method is described of separating plutonium from small amounts of uranium and other contaminants. An acidic aqueous solution of higher valent plutonium and hexavalent uranium is treated with a soluble iodide to obtain the plutonium in the plus three oxidation state while leaving the uranium in the hexavalent state, adding a soluble oxalate such as oxalic acid, and then separating the insoluble plus the plutonium trioxalate from the solution.

US 2,833,618 SEPARATING URANIUM CONTAINING SOLIDS SUSPENDED IN A LIQUID – Creutz, E. C.; Wigner, E. P.; May 6, 1958 (to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission)
A process is described for separating uranium-containing solids suspended in a liquid. It consists of adding to the liquid a wetting agent for the U-containing solids in an amount sufficient to form a separate liquid phase, the wetting agent having a density greater than the density of the liquid. Ethyl dibromoacetate is noted as one preferred wetting agent.

US 2,849,284 METHOD OF SEPARATING URANIUM SUSPENSIONS – Wigner, E. P.; McAdams, W. A.; Aug 26, (to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission)
A process is presented for separating colloidally dissolved uranium oxides from the heavy water medium in which they are contained. The method consists in treating such dispersions with hydrogen peroxide, thereby converting the uranium to non-colloidal UO4, and separating the UO4 after its rapid settling.

US 2,850,447 NEUTRONIC REACTOR – Ohlinger, L. A.; Wigner, E. P.; Weinberg, A. M.; Young, G. J.; Sep 1, 1958 (to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission)
This patent relates to neutronic reactors of the heterogeneous water cooled type, and in particular to a fuel element charging and discharging means therefor. In the embodiment illustrated the reactor contains horizontal, parallel coolant tubes in which the fuel elements are disposed. A loading cart containing a magazine for holding a plurality of fuel elements operates along the face of the reactor at the inlet ends of the coolant tubes. The loading cart is equipped with a ram device for feeding fuel elements from the magazine through the inlet ends of the coolant tubes. Operating along the face adjacent the discharge ends of the tubes there is provided another cart means adapted to receive irradiated fuel elements as they are forced out of the discharge ends of the coolant tubes by the incoming new fuel elements. This cart is equipped with a tank containing a coolant, such as water, into which the fuel elements fall, and a hydraulically operated plunger to hold the end of the fuel element being discharged. This invention provides an apparatus whereby the fuel elements may be loaded into the reactor, irradiated therein, and unloaded from the reactor without stopping the flow of the coolant and without danger to the operating personnel.

US 2,853,624 RADIATION SHIELDING DEVICE – Wigner, E. P.; Young, G. J.; Sep 23, 1958 (to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission)
A radiation shield that is suitable for the protection of personnel from both gamma rays and neutrons is described. The shield is comprised of a hollow wall and an aggregate consisting of iron and water in approximately equal amounts by volume substantially filling the wall. A means is provided to circulate the water through the wall to cool the shield when in use.

US 2,856,339 NEUTRONIC REACTORS – Wigner, E. P.; Young, G. J.; Oct 14, 1958 (to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission)
A method is presented for loading and unloading rod type fuel elements of a neutronic reactor of the heterogeneous, solid moderator, liquid cooled type. In the embodiment illustrated, the fuel rods are disposed in vertical coolant channels in the reactor core. The fuel rods are loaded and unloaded through the upper openings of the channels which are immersed in the coolant liquid, such as water. Unloading is accomplished by means of a coffer dam assembly having an outer sleeve which is placed in sealing relation around the upper opening. A radiation shield sleeve is disposed in and reciprocable through the coffer dam sleeve. A fuel rod engaging member operates through the axial bore in the radiation shield sleeve to withdraw the fuel rod from its position in the reactor coolant channel into the shield, the shield and rod then being removed. Loading is accomplished in the reverse procedure.

US 2,856,340 SHAPED FISSIONABLE METAL BODIES – Wigner, E. P.; Williamson, R. R.; Young, G. J.; Oct 14, 1958 (to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission)
A technique is presented for grooving the surface of fissionable fuel elements so that expansion can take place without damage to the interior structure of the fuel element. The fissionable body tends to develop internal stressing when it is heated internally by the operation of the nuclear reactor and at the same time is subjected to surface cooling by the circulating coolant. By producing a grooved or waffle-like surface texture, the annular lines of tension stress are disrupted at equally spaced intervals by the grooves, thereby relieving the tension stresses in the outer portions of the body while also facilitating the removal of accumulated heat from the interior portion of the fuel element.

US 2,860,093 ISOTOPE CONVERSION DEVICE AND METHOD – Wigner, E. P.; Ohlinger, L. A.; Nov 11, 1958 (to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission)
Homogeneous nuclear reactors are discussed, and an apparatus and method of operation are described. The apparatus consists essentially of a reaction tank, a heat exchanger connected to the reaction tank and two separate surge tanks connected to the heat exchanger. An oscillating differential pressure is applied to the surge tanks so that a portion of the homogeneous fissionable solution is circulated through the heat exchanger and reaction tank while maintaining sufficient solution in the reaction tank to sustain a controlled fission chain reaction. The reaction tank is disposed within another tank containing a neutron absorbing material through which coolant fluid is circulated, the outer tank being provided with means to permit and cause rotation thereof due to the circulation of the coolant therethrough.

US 2,861,034 NEUTRONIC REACTOR SHIELD AND SPACER CONSTRUCTION – Wigner, E. P.; Ohlinger, L. A.; Nov 18, 1958 (to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission)
Reactors of the heterogeneous, graphite moderated, fluid cooled type and shielding and spacing plugs for the coolant channels thereof are reported. In this design, the coolant passages extend horizontally through the moderator structure, accommodating the fuel elements in abutting end-to-end relationship, and have access openings through the outer shield at one face of the reactor to facilitate loading of the fuel elements. In the outer ends of the channels which extend through the shields are provided spacers and shielding plugs designed to offer minimal resistance to coolant fluid flow while preventing emanation of harmful radiation through the access openings when closed between loadings.


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