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Calculations of Neutron Activation Response for the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor and Absolute Calibrations of Neutron Yield

Cris W. Barnes, Alvin R. Larson, A. L. Roquemore

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 30 / Number 1 / September 1996 / Pages 63-72


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The most accurate determination of neutron yields from fusion reactors maybe obtained from neutron activation measurements of elemental foils. On the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR), a re-entrant irradiation end has been installed to provide a low-scattering environment close to the plasma for neutron activation measurements. The ratio of energy-dependent fluence to total fusion yield is calculated using a fully three-dimensional Monte Carlo calculation with the Monte Carlo code for neutron and photon transport (MCNP). Corrections to the “virgin” fluence from attenuation and scattering are only 10 to 20% for deuterium-tritium (D-T) reactions and 30 to 40% for deuterium-deuterium reactions. A total 1-sigma accuracy of ±8% is achieved for D-T neutron yields over a wide dynamic range. This paper documents the response coefficients (hits per source neutron, where hits are activated nuclei per target nuclei) for use by the neutron activation system on TFTR; describes the possible systematic corrections needed (such as major radial variations or the impact of ion temperature on reactions with high-energy thresholds); and estimates uncertainties in the response coefficients. Results from in situ use of a D-T neutron generator are also analyzed using the MCNP modeling as an approximate benchmarking experiment; only 20% accuracy in the comparison is possible because of poor counting statistics in the calibration experiment.

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