Radiation induced transmutation

liquid lead loop of nELBE (©A.Junghans)

In 2005 a project about experimental investigations of  fast (MeV) neutron cross sections for nuclear transmutation was founded by the institutes of radiation physics and nuclear safety research.

Nuclear transmutation is the transmutation of long-lived radio isotopes (e.g. Plutonium) in short-lived ones by bombarding them with fast neutrons. The reduced half-life of the transmuted isotopes would decrease the storage storage time of radioactive waste.

Fast neutrons can be produced at the neutron facility nELBE at the electron accelerator ELBE using Bremsstrahlung produced when the electrons impinge on a liquid lead loop. This Bremsstrahlung undergoes (γ,n) reactions leading to free fast neutrons. At the moment experiments for inelastic neutron scattering and transition of neutrons are performed at the nELBE time of flight setup ntof.

In October 2009 a joint research project about nuclear transmutation (named TRAKULA) started in collaboration with TU München, Universität zu Köln, JGU Mainz, TU Dresden und PTB Braunschweig.

More detailed information about this project, about transmutation and about experiments at nELBE can be found on the TRAKULA project web site.