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Neutronic Studies in Support of Accelerator-Driven Systems: The MUSE Experiments in the MASURCA Facility

R. Soule, W. Assal, P. Chaussonnet, C. Destouches, C. Domergue, C. Jammes, J.-M. Laurens, J.-F. Lebrat, F. Mellier, G. Perret, G. Rimpault, H. Servière, G. Imel, G. M. Thomas, D. Villamarin, E. Gonzalez-Romero, M. Plaschy, R. Chawla, J. L. Kloosterman, Y. Rugama, A. Billebaud, R. Brissot, D. Heuer, M. Kerveno, C. Le Brun, E. Liatard, J.-M. Loiseaux, O. Méplan, E. Merle, F. Perdu, J. Vollaire, P. Baeten

Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 148 / Number 1 / September 2004 / Pages 124-152

Technical Paper /

The MUSE program (multiplication with an external source) is in progress at the MASURCA critical facility at the Cadarache Research Center of the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique in France. The program is dedicated to the physics studies of accelerator-driven systems in support of transmutation studies of minor actinides and long-lived fission products. It began in 1995 with the coupling of a Cf source in MASURCA and was followed by a commercial (d,T) source. In 2001, a specially constructed (d,D)/(d,T) neutron generator (GENEPI) was placed in MASURCA and the MUSE-4 program commenced.

We describe the first phases of the MUSE-4 program, with data presented that were obtained up to about the summer of 2002. We present some results from the "reference" configuration, which can operate at critical. We present traverses of measured fission reaction rates, with comparison to calculations. Also in the reference configuration, we performed activation foil measurements and present these results compared to calculations.

Because a major objective of the MUSE program is to test and qualify methods of subcritical reactivity measurement, we have devoted a major portion of our studies to this area. We have used classical methods (rod drop, source multiplication) to attempt to measure the subcritical level. In these early phases we studied core configurations of around keff = 0.995. Deeper subcriticality (keff = 0.96) was achieved by inserting a safety rod.

In addition to the methods mentioned above, we have devoted a lot of effort to pulse neutron source, fluctuation (Rossi- and Feynman-), and transfer function methods (e.g., cross-power spectral density). We present our preliminary results of all the methods, with some discussion regarding cross comparison.

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