• 3/17/2014

Research neutron source FRM II in Garching:

TUM research reactor delivers first neutrons

The research neutron source FRM II of the Technische Universität München in Garching today produced its first neutrons. “With this, the most modern neutron source in the world has entered a decisive phase,” exclaims TU President Prof. Wolfgang A. Hermann. “We are proud of our team, which has spent years paving the way to the FRM II tour de force.”<br /><br />

[Translate to en:] Reaktorbecken im FRM II. (Foto: Andreas Heddergott)
Reactor basin of the FRM II. (Photo: Andreas Heddergott/ TUM)

When the research reactor was initially powered up, neutrons were generated at a performance level of only a few kilowatts, at the so-called “zero power critical” level. The performance of the neutron source will now be increased incrementally to 20 megawatts. This commissioning phase will be accompanied by extensive tests in accordance with regulations, in particular regarding safety systems.

The tests will include a series of power-off and power-on procedures. The scientists at FRM II will use the time to fine-tune their scientific equipment. The actual scientific experiments will then commence following completion of the commissioning phase – as will industrial utilization.

FRM II requires one fuel element per 52-day operating cycle at 20 MW. The first fuel element was inserted into the central channel of the moderator tank in the reactor basin last week.

A distinguishing feature of the research neutron source in Garching is that the neutrons produced by the high-flux source have a very broad application spectrum. The successor of the so-called “atomic egg” has been optimized for high neutron performance and low thermal reactor performance.

The neutrons generated in the nuclear fission process are slowed down in the moderator and fed to the scientific instruments through steel pipes in the reactor basin. There, the neutrons are deployed as probes for investigations in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and engineering sciences. FRM II is setting new world-wide standards with its ultramodern experimental facilities and safety concept.

Technical University of Munich

Corporate Communications Center

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