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High Intensity D-T Fusion Neutron Generator (HINEG) Successfully Producing >1.0E12n/s Neutrons

Author: WANG Yongfeng

The High Intensity D-T Fusion Neutron Generator (HINEG), developed and constructed by the Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences • FDS Team, successfully produced a D-T fusion neutron yield of up to 1.1E12n/s in the experimental operation on Jan. 2nd, 2016, marking the accomplishment of Phase I. The high intensity accelerator and high power rotating target systems were operating at steady state.

The project team has been concentrating on neutronics theory and efficient utilization of neutrons in advanced nuclear systems for decades, with many internationally influential academic achievements, and also founded the Key Laboratory of Neutronics and Radiation Safety, Chinese Academy of Sciences. For in-depth R&D on experimental validation of neutronics theoretical models and relevant nuclear technology experiments, the team initiated the HINEG program with supports from more than 20 well known international institutions. In the past six years, several key technical issues were successfully taken including intense deuterium ion beam transport, high power dissipation, integrated measurement and control, et al. The team has developed more than ten sub-systems and hundreds of key devices, such as the ultrahigh voltage DC switching power supply, high intensity ion injection system, high voltage and high intensity accelerating tube, high power rotating target and high intensity neutron experimental system. Particularly, the high power rotating target tackled the intense cooling issue under high intensity beam bombardment, and the temperature in the target spot was successfully suppressed to less than 200 Celsius under 10 kW/cm2 thermal loading.

Neutron is the key element for the nuclear system operation and safety assessment, and thus the neutron source is well recognized to be an essential experimental platform for the development of nuclear energy and nuclear safety technology. HINEG accelerates deuterium ions to bombard tritium target for producing 14.1 MeV fusion neutrons, which can be directly used representing the neutron environment in future fusion reactors. On HINEG, fusion energy science and technology experiments on tritium breeding, energy generation, material activation/damage, radiation protection and other research related to fusion technology can be carried out. Furthermore, the moderated neutron can be used simulating neutron environment of current fission reactors and other advanced fission reactors for nuclear safety experimental research. Meanwhile the application of HINEG neutron source can also be extended to nuclear medicine and radiation treatment, nuclear logging and ore exploitation, isotope production, neutron imaging and other fields to improve the development of relevant high-technology industries.

High Intensity D-T Fusion Neutron Generator (HINEG) (Imaged by JI Xiang)