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The New Production-Modular High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (NP-MHTGR) development program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has as part of its task the irradiation testing of the lithium target material. The lithium target material tritium (3H) production is predominately through the 6Li(n,α)3H reaction which also produces equal amounts of 4He (α). The tritium produced decays to 3He (12.38 year half-life), with some of this 3He being converted back to tritium during irradiation via the 3He(n,p)3H reaction. From these reactions, and the irradiation time-history, the measurement of the 4He and 3He content of a lithium monitor or target material sample can be used to determine several important variables associated with the target material performance, as well as to independently determine the neutron fields associated with the test environment. Helium measurements have been used to determine lithium burnup, tritium retention in target pellets, pellet material composition and variation, and threshold temperature for helium release from the pellets. The present paper presents selected results obtained from the various helium measurements and discusses their relevance and importance to the MHTGR target development program.
helium measurements, tritium breeding, MHTGR, lithium targets, tritium retention, neutron dosimetry, helium accumulation fluence monitor (HAFM)
Rockwell International Corporation, Canoga Park, CA
Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, EG&G-Idaho, Inc., Idaho Falls, ID