Neutron self-shielding in irradiation channels of small reactors is isotropic


In order to predict the self-shielding effect in neutron activation of non-spherical samples in reactor neutron spectra, it is important to know whether the neutron field is sufficiently anisotropic to cause significant variations between horizontal and vertical sample orientation or with orientation relative to the direction towards the reactor core. Metal wires with significant neutron self-shielding were irradiated in several channels of the SLOWPOKE reactor at Ecole Polytechnique Montreal and the TRIGA reactor at the Jožef Stefan Institute. In all cases, the amount of thermal or epithermal self-shielding was found to be identical, within the experimental uncertainty, regardless of the orientation of the wire, indicating that the neutron field is essentially isotropic. Models used to predict neutron self-shielding need to be adjusted accordingly. In our Monte Carlo model, the tube-shaped neutron source was moved back into the moderator and reflecting materials near the sample location were included, which produced an isotropic neutron field at the sample location.

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Correspondence to Gregory Kennedy.

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Kennedy, G., Chilian, C., Jaćimović, R. et al. Neutron self-shielding in irradiation channels of small reactors is isotropic. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 291, 555–559 (2012).

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  • Neutron activation analysis
  • Neutron self-shielding
  • Isotropic
  • Research reactor