Current Mode Neutron Noise Measurements in the Zero Power Reactor CROCUS
LRS, Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI)
LRS, EPFL and NES, PSI
Published online: 10 January 2018
The present article is an overview of developments and results regarding neutron noise measurements in current mode at the CROCUS zero power facility. Neutron noise measurements offer a non-invasive method to determine kinetic reactor parameters such as the prompt decay constant at criticality α = βeff / λ, the effective delayed neutron fraction βeff, and the mean generation time λ for code validation efforts. At higher detection rates, i.e. above 2×104 cps in the used configuration at 0.1 W, the previously employed pulse charge amplification electronics with BF3 detectors yielded erroneous results due to dead time effects. Future experimental needs call for higher sensitivity in detectors, higher detection rates or higher reactor powers, and thus a generally more versatile measurement system. We, therefore, explored detectors operated with current mode acquisition electronics to accommodate the need. We approached the matter in two ways:
1) By using the two compensated 10B-coated ionization chambers available in CROCUS as operational monitors. The compensated current signal of these chambers was extracted from coremonitoring output channels.
2) By developing a new current mode amplification station to be used with other available detectors in core. Characteristics and first noise measurements of the new current system are presented. We implemented post-processing of the current signals from 1)and 2) with the APSD/CPSD method to determine α. At two critical states (0.5 and 1.5 W), using the 10B ionization chambers and their CPSD estimate, the prompt decay constant was measured after 1.5 hours to be α=(156.9 ± 4.3) s-1 (1σ). This result is within 1σ of statistical uncertainties of previous experiments and MCNPv5-1.6 predictions using the ENDF/B-7.1 library. The newsystem connected to a CFUL01 fission chamber using the APSDestimate at 100 mW after 33 min yielded α = (160.8 ± 6.3) s-1, also within 1σ agreement.
The improvements to previous neutron noise measurementsinclude shorter measurement durations that can achievecomparable statistical uncertainties and measurements at higherdetection rates.
Key words: Research reactors / neutron noise / current acquisition / kinetic parameter measurement
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2018
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).