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M. Ragheb 7/19/2004

INTRODUCTION

We use the Breit-Wigner single level resonance formula for the absorption cross section as a function of energy, and the expressions for the slowing down density to derive an equation for the probability for a neutron to escape being absorbed in the resonance region as it slows down to thermal energies. The resulting expression for the resonance escape probability forms one term in the four factor formula for the infinite medium multiplication factor. Expressions for the resonance integral for homogeneous reactors are also derived.

For a single level resonance, the Breit-Wigner formula can be written as:

a (E) = 0

E0 E

1 ( E E0 ) 1+ /2

2

(1)

where: 0 and E 0 are the cross section and energy at the peak of the resonance, and is the width of the resonance at half maximum, as shown in Fig. 1.

E c = 0 0 E

1/ 2

const , v

The probability of escaping absorption in the resonances while slowing down is called the resonance escape probability and is by definition:

P( E ) =

q( E ) q0

(2)

where q 0 is the slowing-down density at the fission energy. In an infinite medium the change in slowing down density in an energy interval dE is equal to the number of absorptions in dE, or:

dq .dE = a dE dE

(3)

We have proven before that the number of collisions per unit volume per unit time in the absence of absorptions was:

q dE = s dE E

q dE = ( s + a )dE E

(4)

dq a = dE ( s + a ) q / E

or:

a dq dE . = d [ln q ( E )] = ( s + a ) E q

a q( E ) dE ln = q( E0 ) E0 ( s + a ) E

E

( + ) E q( E ) =e E s a p( E ) = q0

E0

dE

(5)

E0

(6)

To estimate p from Eqn. 6, one needs to know the energy dependence of the cross sections and integrate over the whole energy range. For homogeneous reactors with weak fast absorptions we can approximate the integral in Eq. 6. Since s is fairly constant we can write it as:

1 s

a dE a E Eth 1 + s

E0

If we have a very predominant absorber (e.g U 235 ), we can substitute N a for a and rewrite the integral as:

a dE N a a E Eth 1 + s

E0

Na s

(7)

p = exp(

Na I0 ) s

(8)

wher:e I 0 =

E0

Eth

I eff =

a dE N a a E Eth 1 + s

E0

(9)

If we remove the (1 +

I eff

dE E I0 E = th = N 1 + a a 1 + N a a s s

E0

where: a and s are average values over the energy range. In this case:

E0

a =

Eth E0

( E )dE

a Eth

( E )dE

E0

a =

Eth E0

Eth

dE E

dE E

I0 E ln 0 Eth

I eff =

I0 N 1+ a s I0 E ln 0 Eth

(10)

p = exp(

N a I eff s

(11)

This equation is valid for homogeneous reactors. Some values of I 0 are in Table 1.

Nuclide Process

I0

(0.5-1.0 MeV)

I0

(0.5-1.0 MeV)

E ln 0 Eth

14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5 14.5 15.7 15.7 15.7 14.5 15.7 15.7 15.7 14.5

232 233

85 400 1200 300 1200 900 700 150 450 300 400 280 9000 1300

233

233 92U

242 94Pu

capture

REFERENCES

1. M. Ragheb, Lecture Notes on Fission Reactors Design Theory, FSL-33, University of Illinois, 1982. 2. J. R. Lamarsh, Introduction to Nuclear Engineering, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1983.

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