Utilizing Radioactive Isotopes Harvested at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams for Neutron-Reaction Measurements

Richard Hughes | 20-FS-024

Project Overview

The objective of this study was to investigate how the emerging isotope-harvesting capability at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) can address neutron-reaction needs for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's national security mission. The study identified a list of key Livermore isotopes that are potentially obtainable at FRIB. From this list, the feasibility of performing future measurements with harvested isotopes was assessed by first estimating the quantity and purity for each isotope obtainable from FRIB, and then highlighting specific isotopes where the chemistry and physics conditions enabled a viable experimental approach for the relevant neutron-reaction measurement. The primary project outcomes are a shortlist of priority isotopes and measurements, as well as a summary of the relevant technical considerations associated with isotope harvesting, hot chemistry, and neutron experiments.

A parallel objective in this work was to interact with the U.S. nuclear science community to discuss broader basic and applied science needs for neutron measurements on isotopes harvested at FRIB. To this end, Livermore co-organized a "FRIB neutron source" working group session at the 2020 U.S. Low Energy Nuclear Physics Community Meeting and gave a presentation describing the nuclear-security needs to this audience.

Mission Impact

Isotope harvesting at FRIB will provide a new and unique capability enabling access to numerous radioisotopes in unprecedented quantities and at higher purities than previously available. As a result of this capability, neutron measurements on radioisotopes important to national security needs will become feasible in the coming years. The shortlist of priority measurements resulting from the present study will guide Livermore strategy moving forward to best utilize FRIB isotope harvesting for credible neutron measurements important to national security needs. This research advances the Laboratory's core competency in nuclear, chemical, and isotopic sciences, and NNSA's stockpile stewardship mission.

Publications, Presentations, and Patents

Rose, T. 2020. "Nuclear security data needs for radioisotopes harvested at FRIB." FRIB Neutron Source Working Group, Low Energy Nuclear Physics Community Meeting, Aug 2020, Remote Meeting. LLNL-PRES-813424.