DEPARTMENT OF NUCLEAR ENGINEERING, UCB
LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY
Neutron-induced reactions generate energy in reactors and weapons, and are responsible for the formation of virtually all of the elements heavier than iron. However, more than 80 years after the discovery of the neutron by Chadwick, we still lack the ability to accurately predict the interaction of neutrons with matter due to the rich complexities of nuclear physics. The result is that all of the information about neutron scattering used in nuclear science and engineering applications come from a combination of careful experiment and evaluation. Unfortunately, there is a paucity of inelastic neutron scattering data for the majority of the stable nuclides at energies well-above room temperature. The single largest body of such data was taken at the Al-Tuwaitha research facility outside of Baghdad in the 1970s. This “Baghdad Atlas” contains neutron scattering data for more than 75 stable nuclides taken over the course of 1000’s of hours of careful experimentation. Unfortunately, the reactor at Al-Tuwaitha was “decommissioned” in the first Gulf War, and only a handful of copies of the Atlas survived. The newly formed Data Evaluation for Applied Nuclear Science (DEANS) group at the UC-Berkeley department of nuclear engineering has taken on the task of compiling and evaluating data and performing complementary experiments using neutron sources on the UC campus and laboratories throughout the world. In this talk I will give an update on the status of neutron scattering data, tell the story of the “Baghdad Atlas” and discuss the steps we are taking in Berkeley to improve our understanding of the interactions of neutrons with the world around us. This work was supported the US department of energy under grants DE-AC02-05CB11231
(Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) and DE-AC52-07NA27344 (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) and the UC Office of the President.