Bismuth capture of neutrons is the termination point of the s-process cycle of nucleosynthesis in stellar environments. A new measurement is reported here for neutron activation of bismuth with an intense quasi-Maxwellian neutron source at kT∼30keV. The measurement was performed at the SARAF phase I accelerator facility by bombarding a 1.5-mA proton beam on the liquid-lithium larget. The cross section of the Bi209(n,γ) capture reaction leading to the Bi210 ground state was determined by combining β measurements from the Bi210g decay and α and γ from the subsequent Po210 decay, along with detailed Monte Carlo simulations of the Li7(p,n) reaction kinematics and the activation experimental setup. Deduced Maxwellian averaged cross sections (MACS) for Bi209(n,γ)Bi210g at kT=30keV using the ENDF, JEFF, and JENDL databases for the corrections and extrapolations yielded a value of 1.84±0.09mb. A comparison is made with previous measurements, including time-of-flight (TOF) measurements of the total bismuth capture cross section. Plans for obtaining the MACS for capture to the bismuth-210 metastable state in the reaction Bi209(n,γ)Bi210m are discussed, along with estimates based on our results in comparison with TOF measurements. The bismuth neutron activation cross section is also of importance for design of GenIV reactor coolant and subcritical accelerator driven systems, especially in light of the 3 million year half-life of the Bi210m isomer.
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We would like to thank the SARAF and LiLiT operation staff for a very dedicated and helpful beam and target operation. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the the Pazi Foundation (Israel). We would like to acknowledge the help of Dr. O. Girshevitz from Bar-Ilan University in measuring the thickness of the bismuth foils using RBS techniques. We thank Prof. Peter Schillebeeckx for sharing with us the analysis of σ g / σ m for Bi 210 activation. We would also like to acknowledge the support and encouragements of the IAEC-Soreq and EC-JRC joint project initiative.
© 2017 American Physical Society.