Transmutation

The main and most serious obstacle to the acceptance of nuclear energy as a feasible energy source is the problem of disposal of long-lived radioactive waste. The question naturally arises: is it possible to destroy these wastes or to at least convert them to short-lived species that would decay much more quickly? Over the past decades, accelerator driven high intensity spallation neutron sources have gained attention as a potential solution to the problem of the transmutation of radioactive wastes.

The Dr. Westmeier GmbH has been involved in such studies for over fifteen years. Experiments on the transmutation of some long-lived radioactive wastes such as I-129, Np-237, and Am-241 are being carried out at the Nuclotron facility of the Laboratory for High Energies at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Russia. Spallation neutrons produced by relativistic protons with energies in the range of 0.5 to 3.7 GeV on lead or uranium are used to bombard transmutable materials. In these experiments one has for example transmuted the long-lived and biologically active fission product I-129 (having halflife of 15.7 million years) into 12.3 hours halflife I-130 which then decays on into stable Xe-130.

The DuMa Project (Dubna-Marburg) is a collaboration between several international organisations and institutions which carry out research on transmutation of highly radioactive nuclear waste at the Laboratory of High Energies in the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia. The Dr. Westmeier GmbH is involved in this project since 1999.

The 13th Workshop of the Dubna-Julich-Marburg Collaboration was held in Marburg under the auspices of the Dr. Westmeier GmbH, September 9-13, 2002. The Workshop was sponsored in part by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under project No. 436114/151/02. The programme of the Workshop was oriented towards the presentation and analysis of experimental data.

In this workshop the course of experiments and research was defined for the following 10 years. The initially used GAMMA-2 spallation target for production of low-energy neutrons was complemented with the Energy+Transmutation target which produces a high-energy neutron spectrum. Later the GAMMA-3 target enhanced earlier work with GAMMA-2 and it allowed experiments under very realistic conditions. All three targets were later selected as benchmark targets by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, Vienna) and the published data are available for tests and comparisons of theoretical model calculations.

From left to right, back row: Dr. Klaus Siemon, Dr.Vladimir Wagner, Dr. Peter Vater, Dr. Ernst-Jürgen Langrock, Dr.Mikhail Krivopoustov, Dr. Cornelis Broeders, Dr. Igor Zhuk, Prof. Dr. Reinhard Odoj, Prof. Dr. Reinhard Brandt

From left to right, front row: Dr. Vladimir Perelyguine, Dr. Wolfram Westmeier, Dr. Maria Zamani-Valasiadou, Dr. Andrei Sosnine, Dr. Jindrich Adam, Dr. Valerie Bamblevski
Missing: Dr. Hilary Westmeier, Dr. W. Ensinger and Prof. E. Ganßauge

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