DOE Pulse
  • Number 417  |
  • July 7, 2014

For the users: SNS produces neutrons at 1.4 MW

1.4 MW power on target (1,406.79 kilowatts) displayed in the Spallation Neutron Source control room.

1.4 MW power on target (1,406.79 kilowatts)
displayed in the Spallation Neutron Source
control room.

The Spallation Neutron Source at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory broke records for sustained beam power level as well as for integrated energy and target lifetime in the month of June.

For the first time, the accelerator-based pulsed neutron source operated steadily for users at its baseline design power of 1.4 megawatts on June 26.

“Over the past year, we have implemented technical and operational improvements to provide stable operation at 1.4 MW with little operating margin,” said Kevin Jones, director of ORNL’s Research Accelerators Division. “This achievement is the result of a lot of hard work by the dedicated and talented staff of our division.”

SNS is a DOE Office of Science user facility that provides the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world for scientific research and industrial development. SNS produces neutrons with an accelerator-based system that delivers short (microsecond) proton pulses to a target/moderator system, where neutrons are produced by a process called spallation.

“Running the accelerator at this power level is challenging,” Jones said. “We have a great deal of work remaining over the next few years to add operating margin and to assure ongoing highly reliable operations. We have the best team available to get the job done.”

Improving power production at SNS is valuable to a broad science community, which uses neutrons to study materials from superconductors to macromolecular biological systems.

“For my users and research teams, operating at 1.4 MW makes a big difference,” said Paul Langan, head of the Biological and Soft Matter Division and director of the Center for Structural and Molecular Biology at ORNL. “The higher power provides more neutron flux that allows us to extend our reach and broaden our impact in the fields of soft matter and biological research by enabling measurements with smaller samples that are impossible at a lower power. For example we can look at thinner polymer films and smaller crystals of large medically important complexes.”

Full story

Katie Bethea, 865.576.8039,]