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Delayed Gamma Measurements in Different Nuclear Research Reactors Bringing Out the Importance of Their Contribution in Gamma Flux Calculations

Abstract : Neutron and gamma flux levels are key parameters in nuclear research reactors. In Material Testing Reactors, such as the future Jules Horowitz Reactor, under construction at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA Cadarache, France), the expected gamma flux levels are very high (nuclear heating is of the order of 20 W/g at 100 MWth). As gamma rays deposit their energy in the reactor structures and structural materials it is important to take them into account when designing irradiation devices. There are only a few sensors which allow measurements of the nuclear heating [12]; a recent development at the CEA Cadarache allows measurements of the gamma flux using a miniature ionization chamber (MIC) [3]. The measured MIC response is often compared with calculation using modern Monte Carlo (MC) neutron and photon transport codes, such as TRIPOLI-4 and MCNP6. In these calculations only the production of prompt gamma rays in the reactor is usually modelled thus neglecting the delayed gamma rays. Hence calculations and measurements are usually in better accordance for the neutron flux than for the gamma flux. In this paper we study the contribution of delayed gamma rays to the total MIC signal in order to estimate the systematic error in gamma flux MC calculations. In order to experimentally determine the delayed gamma flux contributions to the MIC response, we performed gamma flux measurements with CEA developed MIC at three different research reactors: the OSIRIS reactor (MTR - 70 MWth at CEA Saclay, France), the TRIGA MARK II reactor (TRIGA - 250 kWth at the Jožef Stefan Institute, Slovenia) and the MARIA reactor (MTR - 30 MWth at the National Center for Nuclear Research, Poland). In order to experimentally assess the delayed gamma flux contribution to the total gamma flux, several reactor shut down (scram) experiments were performed specifically for the purpose of the measurements. Results show that on average about 30 % of the MIC signal is due to the delayed gamma rays.
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D. Fourmentel, V. Radulovic, L. Barbot, J-F. Villard, G. Zerovnik, et al.. Delayed Gamma Measurements in Different Nuclear Research Reactors Bringing Out the Importance of Their Contribution in Gamma Flux Calculations. IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2016, 63 (6), pp.2875-2879. ⟨10.1109/tns.2016.2608985⟩. ⟨cea-02384470⟩

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