Volume 9, Issue 3 (March 2012)
New Measurements and the Associated Unfolding Methodologies to Characterize the Caliban Pulsed Reactor Cavity Neutron Spectrum by the Foil Activation Method
Caliban is a cylindrical metallic core reactor mainly composed of uranium 235. It is operated by the Criticality and Neutron Science Research Laboratory located at the French Atomic Energy Commission research center in Valduc. As with other fast burst reactors, Caliban is used extensively for determining the responses of electronic parts or other objects and materials to neutron-induced displacements. Therefore, Caliban’s irradiation characteristics, and especially its central cavity neutron spectrum, have to be very accurately evaluated. The foil activation method has been used in the past by the Criticality and Neutron Science Research Laboratory to evaluate the neutron spectrum of the different facilities it operated, and in particular to characterize the Caliban cavity spectrum. In order to strengthen and to improve our knowledge of the Caliban cavity neutron spectrum and to reduce the uncertainties associated with the available evaluations, new measurements have been performed on the reactor and interpreted by the foil activation method. A sensor set has been selected to sample adequately the studied spectrum. Experimental measured reaction rates have been compared to the results from UMG spectrum unfolding software and to values obtained with the activation code Fispact. Experimental and simulation results are overall in good agreement, although gaps exist for some sensors. UMG software has also been used to rebuild the Caliban cavity neutron spectrum from activation measurements. For this purpose, a default spectrum is needed, and one has been calculated with the Monte-Carlo transport code Tripoli 4 using the benchmarked Caliban description.