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An Evaluation of the Number of Neutrons Per Fission for the Principal Plutonium, Uranium, and Thorium Isotopes

W. G. Davey

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 44 / Number 3 / June 1971 / Pages 345-371


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Experimental values (apart from thermal-neutron data) of the number of prompt neutrons per fission () for 232Th, 233U, 234U, 235U, 238U, 239Pu, 240Pu, and 241Pu over the energy range from 0 to 15 MeV up to February 1970 are evaluated to derive the best available data, primarily for fast reactor analysis. Limited comments are made on data published subsequently. Data are renormalized where necessary to the latest recommended value (3.756) for for 252Cf. Many of the existing lower energy data for 233U and 235U indicate a nonlinear energy dependence that would be of significance for fast reactor analysis, but a limited number of recent specific studies on 235U strongly support linear dependence, and the existence of low-energy structure is not established. The more limited low-energy measurements on 239Pu indicate little, if any, structure. At energies above several MeV the normally assumed linear energy dependence of is more applicable, but the occurrence of the (n, n′f) and (n, 2nf) reactions in addition to the (n, f) reaction introduces a nonlinear dependence that is generally small but may be of significance for some isotopes. Consideration of the effects of first-. second-, and third-chance fission [(n, f), (n, n′f), and (n, 2nf) reactions] gives a good fit to the single case, 235U, in which a test can be made and these effects are considered in the evaluation of other isotopes.

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