Jun 8, 2004

Russian neutron complex looks to future research programme

The future possibilities for research at the neutron complex of the Institute for Nuclear Research (INR) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) was the topic of a workshop that took place in Moscow on 12 March.

The operation of the INR RAS neutron complex located in Troitsk, Moscow, is based on a beam provided by the high-current proton linac of the Moscow Meson Facility. The complex includes a spallation or "impulse" neutron source (IN-0.6) with neutron guides and installations for condensed-matter investigations, a 100 tonne spectrometer for neutrons slowing down in lead (LNS-100) and an irradiation facility, called RADEX, at the beam-stop of the experimental area.

LNS-100 started operation in 2000, and now is to be joined by a time-of-flight facility that will allow complementary experiments in nuclear physics. The beam-stop is being modified to provide a time-of-flight neutron spectrometer, which should provide additional opportunities for neutron-nucleus studies by the beginning of 2005. The first measurements of neutron fluxes with a working model of the time-of-flight neutron spectrometer were taken in 2003.

Approximately 60 representatives from research groups in leading institutes in St Petersburg and the Moscow region participated in the workshop, where discussions revealed a strong interest among the nuclear physicists for co-operation in experiments at the neutron complex. It may also prove to be a suitable place for international experiments on accelerator-driven systems and studies of nuclear transmutation problems.

An accelerator-driven system facility developed around the linac in the INR RAS neutron complex, including a target and a 5 MW subcritical core, could be suitable for studies of the nuclear transmutation of minor actinides and long-lived fission products. Discussions between specialists from the Russian Research Centre Kurchatov Institute, based in Moscow, the Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering, also in Moscow, the Pole Universitaire Leonard de Vinci La Defense, in Paris, the Institute for Nuclear Research and a number of other centres are now underway.

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