The Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) is establishing a neutron-irradiation facility consisting of two compact neutron sources. The new facility, the only of its kind in Norway, will ensure that Norwegian industry, civil society, authorities, research organizations, and universities have access to the unique capabilities' neutrons provide in material analysis and production of radionuclides.
Essential to this new research infrastructure is that it is a collaborative undertaking between the Nuclear Chemistry Group at University of Oslo and IFE. Thereby, the application of these compact neutron sources can be included in training and education of students.
Production of radionuclides is vital to research and development in radiopharmaceuticals and industry utilizing so-called tracer techniques; Radionuclides are used as markers to follow or study a process without influencing the process itself. It is a very sensitive technique that can be used in anything from laboratory test tubes to oil fields on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Neutrons are also an important tool for non-destructive material inspection and analysis. As an inspection and analytical tool, a wide range of applications are relevant in society, from decommissioning of nuclear reactors, illicit material detection, to all kinds of element composition analysis.
The purpose of this project is to establish a neutron irradiation facility based on small compact neutron generator at IFE in partnership with the University of Oslo. This facility will consist of several generators that will provide neutrons for production of radionuclides, material characterization by elemental analysis and imaging. The implementation of this infrastructure is planned as a two-phase process. Two smaller neutron generators, of which one is portable will be implemented in this first phase, and the plan for the second phase is installation of a high-yield generator (application expected for 2022 call). This facility will address needs related to radionuclide production of development of radio pharmaceuticals and for industrial tracing methods and be used for educational purposes. Neutrons for material characterization are relevant for fundamental research in and advanced material technology, as for example decommissioning of nuclear reactors, illicit material identification. This infrastructure has a strong education component as courses in Nuclear and radiochemistry will be using the infrastructure.