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Materials Science & Technology
The objectives of MSTD are: promote the advancement of materials science in Nuclear Science Technology; support the multidisciplines which constitute it; encourage research by providing a forum for the presentation, exchange, and documentation of relevant information; promote the interaction and communication among its members; and recognize and reward its members for significant contributions to the field of materials science in nuclear technology.
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Nuclear Science and Engineering
Fusion Science and Technology
What is involved in radiation protection at accelerator facilities?
Particle accelerators have evolved from exotic machines probing hadron interactions to understand the fundamentals of our world to widely used instruments in research and for medical and industrial use. For research purposes, high-power machines are employed, often producing secondary particle beams through primary beam interaction with a target material involving many meters of shielding. The charged beam interacts with the surrounding structures, producing both prompt radiation and secondary radiation from activated materials. After beam termination, some parts of the facility remain radioactive and potentially can become radiation hazards over time. Radiation protection for accelerator facilities involves a range of actions for operation within safe boundaries (an accelerator safety envelope). Each facility establishes fundamental safety principles, requirements, and measures to control radiation exposure to people and the release of radioactive material in the environment.
Philip H. Sewell, Robert B. Hayes
Nuclear Technology | Volume 209 | Number 6 | June 2023 | Pages 835-856
Technical Paper | doi.org/10.1080/00295450.2022.2157662
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
To develop the criticality safety basis for any system, process, or package, the worst-case configuration of materials resulting in the maximum system reactivity must be determined. It is commonly accepted that in terms of the maximum system reactivity, at the lower enrichments used in current commercial practice (i.e., 5 wt% 235U), a heterogeneous configuration is bounding of a homogeneous mixture of fissile and moderating materials. However, a common assumption made is that with increasing enrichment, a homogeneous system can be bounding. With increased industry interest in utilizing higher enrichments for commercial applications with low-enriched uranium (LEU+) (≤10 wt% 235U), and high assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) (≤20 wt% 235U) materials, it has become increasingly important to verify any assumptions and to have a better understanding of the expected system behavior at these higher enrichments.
The SCALE code system was used to assess the effects of heterogeneity on system reactivity with varying enrichments and system configurations for a UO2 and water system, typical of a transportation package criticality analysis. The purpose of this assessment was to provide insight on the effect of material heterogeneity on system reactivity with increasing enrichment. The results of this study confirm that for systems with a higher hydrogen-to–fissile material (H/X) ratio, the homogeneous mixture of material may be bounding for HALEU materials. However, for systems with a lower hydrogen-to–fissile material ratio (H/X ≤ 200), a heterogeneous configuration of contents is expected to be bounding for most LEU materials. Overall, for any LEU system, including HALEU material, heterogeneous reactivity effects should always be considered.