Volume 9, Issue 4 (April 2012)
Measurements of Actinide-Fission Product Yields in Caliban and Prospero Metallic Core Reactor Fission-Neutron Fields
In the 1970s and early 1980s, an experimental program was performed on the facilities of the CEA Valduc Research Center to measure several actinide-fission product yields. Experiments were, in particular, completed on the Caliban and Prospero metallic core reactors to study fission-neutron-induced reactions on 233U, 235U, and 239Pu. Thick actinide samples were irradiated and the number of nuclei of each fission product was determined by gamma spectrometry. Fission chambers were irradiated simultaneously to measure the numbers of fissions in thin deposits of the same actinides. The masses of the thick samples and the thin deposits were determined by mass spectrometry and alpha spectrometry. The results of these experiments will be fully presented in this paper for the first time. A description of the Caliban and Prospero reactors, their characteristics and performances, and explanations about the experimental approach will also be given in the article. A recent work has been completed to analyze and reinterpret these measurements and particularly to evaluate the associated uncertainties. In this context, calculations have also been carried out with the Monte Carlo transport code Tripoli-4, using the published benchmarked Caliban description and a three-dimensional model of Prospero, to determine the average neutron energy causing fission. Simulation results will be discussed in this paper. Finally, new fission yield measurements will be proposed on Caliban and Prospero reactors to strengthen the results of the first experiments.