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Measured and calculated activities of spallation products formed in copper and gold foils as a result of bombardment with 120 MeV deuterons
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Approximately 60,000 tons of spent fuel (33,000 MW-days / MTU burnup) currently await shipment to the repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. 1,2 In addition, the amount of spent fuel in storage is likely to double before the opening of the repository. However, the proposed transmutation of long-lived fission-products and burning of higher actinides would lessen the volume and time the waste must be stored in its present state, while concurrently extending the U. S. energy resources. An integral part of such a transmutation system is the spoliation target. The target provides the neutrons responsible for transmuting fission-products and burning or breeding fertile higher actinides into fissile fuel. The idea is to smash high-energy protons or deuterons into a target material that will yield a high number of neutrons per incident particle. While numerous studies have been done determining the average neutron yield per incident particle, less effort has been spent to determine the radioactive isotopes produced in the target as a function of target materials. An experiment conducted at the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Cyclotron consisted of two foils, copper and gold, being irradiated by 120 MeV deuterons. The foils were transported to the TAMU Nuclear Science Center (NSC), where they were placed on a high-purity germanium gamma-ray detector. The subsequent analysis of the spectra revealed several radionuclides were produced as a result of irradiation. In an effort to predict the types and amounts of radionuclides produced in the targets as a result of such an irradiation, a computer program known as LAHET was obtained from Los Alamos National Laboratory. LAHET was used to simulate the experiment run at the TAMU Cyclotron. The results from LAHET were compared to the results of the irradiation for the purpose of estimating the accuracy of the calculated results. The activity of long-lived radioisotopes is important for the evaluation of target disposal options. The amounts of long-lived isotopes present in a spallation target after use ought to be at levels such that geologic storage of the target is not necessary. The results of this masters thesis research are important for the future design options of accelerator-driven transmutation of waste systems, and in the determination of the reliability of the LAHET code for such applications.
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Belian, Anthony Paul (1994). Measured and calculated activities of spallation products formed in copper and gold foils as a result of bombardment with 120 MeV deuterons. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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