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Report No.
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Measurement of niobium reaction rate for material surveillance tests in fast reactors

Ito, Chikara  ; Maeda, Shigetaka  ; Inoue, Toshihiko ; Tomita, Hideki*; Iguchi, Tetsuo*

A highly accurate and precise technique for measurement of the $$^{93}$$Nb(n,n')$$^{93m}$$Nb reaction rate was established for the material surveillance tests, etc. in fast reactors. The self-absorption effect on the measurement of the characteristic X-rays emitted by $$^{93m}$$Nb was decreased by the solution and evaporation to dryness of niobium dosimeter. A highly precise count of the number of $$^{93}$$Nb atoms was obtained by measuring the niobium solution concentration using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. X-rays of $$^{93m}$$Nb were measured accurately by means of comparing the X-ray intensity of irradiated niobium solution with that of the solution in which stable $$^{93}$$Nb was added. The difference between both intensities indicates the effect of $$^{182}$$Ta, which is generated from an impurity tantalum, and the intensity of X-rays from $$^{93m}$$Nb was evaluated. Measurement error of the $$^{93}$$Nb(n,n')$$^{93m}$$Nb reaction rate was reduced to be less than 4%, which was equivalent to the other reaction rate errors of dosimeters used for Joyo dosimetry. In addition, an advanced technique using Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry was proposed for the precise measurement of $$^{93m}$$Nb yield, and $$^{93m}$$Nb will be resonance-ionized selectively by discriminating the hyperfine splitting of the atomic energy levels between $$^{93}$$Nb and $$^{93m}$$Nb at high resolution.

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