On the Determination of Neutron Multiplication by the Rossi-alpha Method
This work contains the results of determining the prompt neutron multiplication factor in the subcritical state of a one-zone BFS facility, obtained by the neutron coincidence method, for which the influence of the error in the beff value in determining the multiplication factor turned out to be insignificant. The core of the facility consisted of rods filled with pellets of metallic depleted uranium, 37% enriched uranium dioxide and 95% enriched plutonium, sodium, stainless steel and Al2O3. Stainless steel served as a reflector.
In contrast to the inverse kinetics equation solving (IKES) method, which is convenient for determining the subcritical states of reactors, the neutron coincidence method practically does not depend on the error in the value of the effective fraction of delayed neutrons βeff. If in the IKES method the reactivity value is obtained in fractions of βeff, i.e., from the measurement of delayed neutrons, then the neutron coincidence method is based on the direct measurement of the value (1 – kр)2, where kр is the effective prompt neutron multiplication factor. The total multiplication factor is defined as keff = kр + βeff.
Rossi-alpha measurements were carried out using two 3He counters and a time analyzer. The measurement channel width Δt was 1.0 μs. From the measurements, the value of the prompt neutron multiplication factor was obtained. In this case, the space isotope correlation factor for the medium with a source was calculated using the following quantities: Φ(x) – solutions of the inhomogeneous equation for the neutron flux and Φ+(x) – solutions of the conjugate inhomogeneous equation. A comparison of the results of the Rossi-alpha experiment and measurements of the BFS-73 subcritical facility by the standard IKES method in determining the multiplication factor value is also presented. The data of the IKES method differ insignificantly from the results of the Rossi-alpha method over the entire range of changes in the subcriticality with an increase in the subcriticality of the state of the BFS-73 one-zone facility.
It was impossible to apply the neutron coincidence method to fast reactors; however, the method turned out to be quite workable on their models created at the BFS facility, which was successfully demonstrated in this study.
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