Criticality experiment succeeds at CEF in Nevada

June 28, 2011
Criticality experiment succeeds at CEF in Nevada
The Los Alamos criticality team at the Planet control panel in Nevada. From left, Joetta Goda, Rene Sanchez and David Hayes, all members of LANL's Advanced Nuclear Technology group.

On June 15 a team of researchers at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory brought the Planet criticality assembly machine located at the Nevada National Security Site to a supercritical point for approximately eight minutes, successfully repeating an experiment last conducted at Los Alamos in 2004.

This experiment, bringing a small amount of nuclear material into a using the Planet assembly, demonstrated the restoration of a national capability to perform critical operations that was lost with the closure in 2005 of Technical Area 18 at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Los Alamos team has been working since that time to move four criticality assemblies and more than a ton of associated nuclear material to the Criticality Experiments Facility (CEF) operated by the Laboratory at the Nevada National Security Site.

Experiments at CEF help support a variety of missions, including validating the performance of specific radiation detection instruments and providing hands-on training for criticality safety engineers and nuclear-material handlers.

These experiments address issues including criticality safety processes; criticality safety for storage, transportation, and disposition of ; criticality issues in device assessment and performance; domestic and international safeguards technology; safety guidelines for the nuclear power industry worldwide through research, modeling and ; and arms control and treaty verification.

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2 comments

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rawa1
not rated yet Jun 28, 2011
I'm missing "Don't do this at home" label here... BTW The control panel illustrating the article is from Flattop device.
Doug_Huffman
5 / 5 (2) Jun 28, 2011
Why? By all means, if you can acquire sufficient fissionable material then, don't delay, assemble your own critical mass. It is so much cheaper than heating with gas, non-toxic too.

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