Fusion development company SHINE Technologies announced that it will begin offering radiation effects testing in a dedicated facility on the company’s Janesville, Wis., campus later this year. SHINE will use high-energy fusion neutrons to test mission-critical components that are susceptible to radiation-harsh environments on behalf of its aerospace and defense customers.
Called FLARE (Fusion Linear Accelerator for Radiation Effects), the radiation effects testing service is expected to provide the industry’s highest fluence of high-energy (14-MeV) fusion neutrons. According to SHINE, FLARE will expand the Department of Defense’s capacity to test its systems in pursuit of force readiness, sustainability, and new system deployment.
The technology: The new service is underpinned by SHINE’s deuterium-tritium (DT) fusion neutron source technology, which was developed over the past decade as part of the company’s medical isotope manufacturing process.
In 2019, SHINE and its subsidiary Phoenix announced that their neutron generating system achieved what is believed to be a world record for a nuclear fusion reaction in a steady-state system, yielding 46 trillion (4.6 × 1013) neutrons per second.
“Our technology provides the brightest time-averaged source of fusion neutrons in the world, allowing for much faster and more accurate testing capabilities than were previously available,” said Greg Piefer, founder and chief executive officer of SHINE.
Background: Neutron radiation poses a significant risk to electronics in multiple ways, including long-term cumulative effects and single-event, high-energy disturbances. The effects can prove catastrophic for spacecraft, satellites, and other strategic aerospace and defense systems. Radiation effects testing can help mitigate those risks by testing the reliability of components before they are deployed in missions.
Fusion phases: Last year, SHINE launched a four-phase approach to fusion development, with the ultimate goal of generating fusion power. The new radiation effects testing service expands the company’s first-phase abilities to inspect industrial components.
As part of the second phase, the company will produce medical isotopes, including molybdenum-99. SHINE expects to receive a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission later this year to operate its Mo-99 production facility, dubbed the Chrysalis. The company hopes to begin recycling nuclear waste during its phase 3 activities.