SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 2007

Comparison of Predicted and Measured Helium Production in U.S. BWR Reactors


Helium production in reactor steel is calculated as the summation of all neutron reactions that produce helium either with thermal or fast neutrons. Thermal helium production is due to elements or impurities that are known to have a thermal neutron cross section for helium production, including 10B and 59Ni. Fast neutrons produce helium in all materials due to the threshold (n,α) reactions as well as other reactions that include helium as one of the reaction products. A generalized equation is given for helium production in all reactor materials and comparisons are given for helium measurements in steel and inconel samples. The helium production calculated using the generalized equation is in good agreement with helium measurements in samples from BWR reactors. Simplified equations are given with numerical values and generic parameters to facilitate calculations. However, it is important to use the actual boron content when known to obtain reliable estimates of the helium production.

Author Information

Greenwood, Lawrence, R.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA
Oliver, Brian, M.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA
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Developed by Committee: E10
Pages: 356–364
DOI: 10.1520/STP45464S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-6242-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-3412-6