Commissioning of NAA at the new OPAL reactor in Australia

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In April 2007 the new nuclear research reactor, OPAL, was opened at Lucas Heights in Sydney. OPAL is a 20 MW open pool light water reactor with a heavy water reflector vessel and contains a cold neutron source. It is a multi-purpose facility for radioisotope production, irradiation services and neutron beam research. The OPAL design includes purpose-built facilities for instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and delayed neutron activation analysis (DNAA). For INAA there is a short residence time facility in a neutron flux of around 2•1013 cm−2•s−1 and a number of long residence time facilities providing fluxes from 3•1012 to 1•1014 cm−2•s–1. The flux at the short residence time DNAA facility is around 6•1012 cm−2•s−1. The main focus for INAA at OPAL is the research community, meeting the needs of a wide range of disciplines, including mineral processing, geology, the environment, health and archaeology. Both the relative (comparator) method and the k0-method of standardization for INAA are being established in OPAL. A description of progress, plans and capabilities are presented.

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