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The Plutonium Temperature Effect Experimental Program

International Conference on the Physics of Reactors 2008 (PHYSOR 08) / 14-19 September 2008 - Volume 2, 2008, Pages 1645-1650

Document type > *Congrès/colloque

Keywords >

Research Unit > IRSN/DSU/SEC

Authors > HAECK Wim, LECLAIRE Nicolas, LETANG Eric, GIRAULT Emmanuel, FOUILLAUD Patrick

Publication Date > 14/09/2008


Various theoretical studies have shown that highly diluted plutonium solutions could have a positive temperature effect but (up to now) no experimental program has confirmed this effect. The main goal of the French Plutonium Temperature Effect Experimental Program (or PU+ in short) is to effectively show that such a positive temperature effect exists for diluted plutonium solutions. The experiments were conducted in the "Apparatus B" facility at the CEA VALDUC research centre in France and involved several sub-critical approach type of experiments using plutonium nitrate solutions with concentrations of 14.3, 15 and 20 g/l at temperatures ranging from 20 to 40°C. A total number of 14 phase I experiments (consisting of independent subcritical approaches) have been performed (5 at 20 g/l, 4 at 15 g/l and 5 at 14.3 g/l) between 2006 and 2007. The impact of the uncertainties on the solution acidity and the plutonium concentration makes it difficult to clearly demonstrate the positive temperature effect, requiring an additional phase II experiment (in which the use of the same plutonium solution was ensured) from 22 to 28°C performed in July 2007. This experiment has shown the existence of a positive temperature effect ∼ +2 pcm/°C (from 22 to 28°C for a plutonium concentration of 14.3 g/l).

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