Development of fast pneumatic system for the study of 14 MeV fission product yields




Montgomery, Matthew Taylor

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The use of fission product yield data is pervasive among nuclear calculations, particularly in the realm of nuclear forensics and active interrogation for special nuclear material. The capital source of fission product yield data is the work of T.R. England and B.F. Rider, of Los Alamos National Laboratory, in the early 1990s. Though their work was certainly substantial, a great deal of data was generated computationally, in lieu of done empirically—particularly with low-yield, short-lived progeny. Due to this, relative uncertainties in the measurements can be as high as 64%, and vary wildly from database to database (oft times not even within one standard deviation of one another). The purpose of this work is to build a pneumatic system capable of cyclic irradiation coupled to a D-T neutron source, in order to cumulate proper counting statistics, by which one can backcalculate independent and cumulative fission yields. Beyond the design and control parameters of the pneumatic system, a precise flux characterization of the facility is presented, and finally, proof-of-concept is demonstrated by causing 14 MeV neutron-induced fission and identifying every observed fission product photopeak.



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