Sharing EU laboratories – Tiny particles, big possibilities

One of the main challenges in the current nuclear waste is that it is both radioactive for a very long time and it’s also producing heat for quite some time. The idea is to do a selective partitioning of that spent fuel and then put these in a facility where there’s a lot of high energy neutrons. It is fundamental to know the energy distribution of our neutrons in our system and for that it’s very important that experiments are being done and evaluated afterwards to generate the cross sections that we need to run our calculations. Those are our basic data – we cannot live without them. In collaboration with the people from JRC Geel we provide gamma production cross sections and inelastic cross sections, which is important for the people developing the nuclear facilities, the Generation IV of nuclear reactors, or the accelerator driven systems. For these neutron-induced experiments we were missing the neutron source. Here in Bucharest we do not have a neutron source. In Geel we have this GELINA facility that we can use to measure neutron-induced cross sections. GELINA is the best neutron source in the world for these kinds of experiments. GELINA is specific because it has a very high time resolution so we can do very precise neutron energy cross section measurements. These data are made available to people designing new nuclear systems or people assessing the safety of existing nuclear systems. They use this nuclear data to do computer simulations and based on these computer simulations you can make predictions of what will happen in real life in nuclear systems. For many users it’s quite easy to come here and do their measurements. The fact that we could access it openly was a very big help for us and was probably the most important to measure many cross sections extremely precisely and learn many things about nuclear reactions and what actually happens when a neutron or a charged particle hits a nucleus. We have already been pushing the limits, for example for accelerator technology and the reliability of accelerators,

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