Neutron capture cross section measurement of ${}^{238}U$ at the CERN n_TOF facility in the energy region from 1 eV to 700 keV

Abstract : The aim of this work is to provide a precise and accurate measurement of the ${}^{238}U$($n$,$\gamma$) reaction cross section in the energy region from 1 eV to 700 keV. This reaction is of fundamental importance for the design calculations of nuclear reactors, governing the behavior of the reactor core. In particular, fast reactors, which are experiencing a growing interest for their ability to burn radioactive waste, operate in the high energy region of the neutron spectrum. In this energy region most recent evaluations disagree due to inconsistencies in the existing measurements of up to 15%. In addition, the assessment of nuclear data uncertainty performed for innovative reactor systems shows that the uncertainty in the radiative capture cross section of ${}^{238}U$ should be further reduced to 1-3% in the energy region from 20 eV to 25 keV. To this purpose, addressed by the Nuclear Energy Agency as a priority nuclear data need, complementary experiments, one at the GELINA and two at the n_TOF facility, were proposed and carried out within the 7th Framework Project ANDES of the European Commission. The results of one of these ${}^{238}U$($n$,$\gamma$) measurements performed at the n_TOF CERN facility are presented in this work. The $\gamma$-ray cascade following the radiative neutron capture has been detected exploiting a setup of two C$_6$D$_6$ liquid scintillators. Resonance parameters obtained from this work are on average in excellent agreement with the ones reported in evaluated libraries. In the unresolved resonance region, this work yields a cross section in agreement with evaluated libraries up to 80 keV, while for higher energies our results are significantly higher.
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F. Mingrone, Gunsing F., Belloni F., Berthoumieux E., Fraval K., et al.. Neutron capture cross section measurement of ${}^{238}U$ at the CERN n_TOF facility in the energy region from 1 eV to 700 keV. Physical Review C, American Physical Society, 2017, 95, pp.034604. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevC.95.034604 ⟩. ⟨cea-01511275⟩

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