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Title: MANTA. An Integral Reactor Physics Experiment to Infer the Neutron Capture Cross Sections of Actinides and Fission Products in Fast and Epithermal Spectra

Neutron cross-sections characterize the way neutrons interact with matter. They are essential to most nuclear engineering projects and, even though theoretical progress has been made as far as the predictability of neutron cross-section models, measurements are still indispensable to meet tight design requirements for reduced uncertainties. Within the field of fission reactor technology, one can identify the following specializations that rely on the availability of accurate neutron cross-sections: (1) fission reactor design, (2) nuclear fuel cycles, (3) nuclear safety, (4) nuclear safeguards, (5) reactor monitoring and neutron fluence determination and (6) waste disposal and transmutation. In particular, the assessment of advanced fuel cycles requires an extensive knowledge of transuranics cross sections. Plutonium isotopes, but also americium, curium and up to californium isotope data are required with a small uncertainty in order to optimize significant features of the fuel cycle that have an impact on feasibility studies (e.g. neutron doses at fuel fabrication, decay heat in a repository, etc.). Different techniques are available to determine neutron cross sections experimentally, with the common denominator that a source of neutrons is necessary. It can either come from an accelerator that produces neutrons as a result of interactions between charged particles and a target,more » or it can come from a nuclear reactor. When the measurements are performed with an accelerator, they are referred to as differential since the analysis of the data provides the cross-sections for different discrete energies, i.e. σ(Ei), and for the diffusion cross sections for different discrete angles. Another approach is to irradiate a very pure sample in a test reactor such as the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) at INL and, after a given time, determine the amount of the different transmutation products. The precise characterization of the nuclide densities before and after neutron irradiation allows to infer energy-integrated neutron cross sections, i.e. ∫₀σ(E)φ(E)dE, where φ(E) is the neutron flux “seen” by the sample. This approach, which is usually defined and led by reactor physicists, is referred to as integral and is the object of this report. These two sources of information, i.e. differential and integral, are complementary and are used by the nuclear physicists in charge of producing the evaluated nuclear data files used by the nuclear community (ENDF, JEFF…). The generation of accurate nuclear data files requires an iterative process involving reactor physicists and nuclear data evaluators. This experimental program has been funded by the ATR National Scientific User Facility (ATR-NSUF) and by the DOE Office of Science in the framework of the Recovery Act. It has been given the name MANTRA for Measurement of Actinides Neutron TRAnsmutation.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1261040
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT--15-37209
TRN: US1601570
DOE Contract Number:
AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; AMERICIUM ISOTOPES; CURIUM ISOTOPES; NEUTRON REACTIONS; FAST NEUTRONS; EPITHERMAL NEUTRONS; INTEGRAL CROSS SECTIONS; FISSION PRODUCTS; NUCLEAR DATA COLLECTIONS; CALIFORNIUM ISOTOPES; PLUTONIUM ISOTOPES; CAPTURE MANTRA