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Neutrons from a Proton-Driven Deuterium Target as a Possible Competitor to Spallation for Nuclear Energy Applications

C. D. Bowman, D. C. Bowman, E. G. Bilpuch, A. S. Crowell, C. R. Howell, K. McCabe, G. A. Smith, A. P. Tonchev, W. Tornow, V. Vylet, R. L. Walter

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 161 / Number 1 / January 2009 / Pages 119-124


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Measurements are reported on the yield of neutrons from protons in the energy range from 7 to 17 MeV striking a stopping-length target of deuterium gas. This combination of beam and target is being investigated as an alternative to spallation for accelerator-driven transmutation technology with perhaps equivalent or lower energy cost per neutron. The concept includes neutrons produced from a cascade of reactions starting with the p + d reaction giving rise to subsequent fusion neutrons and neutrons from higher-order breakup reactions. In our application the incident proton energy is expected to be ~100 MeV so that most of the neutrons produced in these reactions will be higher-energy neutrons that can undergo multiplication in surrounding beryllium or lead. The results reported here for lower proton energies indicate that the expected fusion and higher-order breakup reactions have been observed, and they provide the basis for a measurement at 100 MeV to confirm the larger proton-induced cascade benefits expected at higher proton energies.

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