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Deuterium effect on the subcritical limit for fissile-to-hydrogen ratio

Okuno, Hiroshi; Akiyama, Hideo*; Mochizuki, Hiroki*

Low-level waste (LLW) drums are required to transport as fissile material if the current IAEA's Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material are rigorously applied. This problem is a consequence that water contents of concrete in LLW drums contained deuterium (D) in quantities more than 0.1% of fissile material mass, therefore they are not excepted from packages containing fissile material. Consideration of differences in the absorption cross sections of light hydrogen and D shows that the relative increase in the neutron multiplication factor by a presence of D in natural water for hydrogen (H)-moderated systems is not larger than 0.015%. A numerical calculation confirms that the infinite multiplication factor of a mixture of $$^{235}$$U-metal and water in a $$^{235}$$U/H mass ratio of 5% increases proportionally to the D/H atomic ratio, and that its relative increase is less than 0.03% for the D/H atomic ratio of 0.015%. The limiting fissile-to-H mass ratio of 5% in the exception rule is concluded to be applicable to H-moderated systems including D in natural water.

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Category:Nuclear Science & Technology

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