Characterization of Novel Calorimeters in the Annular Core Research Reactor *
1 Sandia National Laboratories, Applied Nuclear Technologies Department, P.O. Box 5800, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185, USA
2 Sandia National Laboratories, Advanced Nuclear Concepts Department, P.O. Box 5800, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185, USA
Published online: 3 February 2016
A series of pulsed irradiation experiments have been performed in the central cavity of Sandia National Laboratories' Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR) to characterize the responses of a set of elemental calorimeter materials including Si, Zr, Sn, Ta, W, and Bi. Of particular interest was the perturbing effect of the calorimeter itself on the ambient radiation field – a potential concern in dosimetry applications. By placing the calorimeter package into a neutron-thermalizing lead/polyethylene (LP) bucket and irradiating both with and without a cadmium wrapper, it was demonstrated that prompt capture gammas generated inside the calorimeters can be a significant contributor to the measured dose in the active disc region. An MCNP model of the experimental setup was shown to replicate measured dose responses to within 10%. The internal (n,γ) contribution was found to constitute as much as 50% of the response inside the LP bucket and up to 20% inside the nominal (unmodified) cavity environment, with Ta and W exhibiting the largest enhancement due to their sizable (n,γ) cross sections. Capture reactions in non-disc components of the calorimeter were estimated to be responsible for up to a few percent of the measured response.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
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