ORNL official: damage at Japan’s neutron source

Ian Anderson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s neutron sciences chief and director of the Spallation Neutron Source, said lab folks have been in touch with counterparts at the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex — reporting some significant problems caused by the massive earthquake there.

“I have just heard that the earthquake that hit Japan this morning, with a magnitude of 8.9, had its epicenter very close to the JPARC complex that I mentioned to you in my last message. We are hearing that some damage has occurred at the spallation neutron source but I have not yet heard how the JRR-3M reactor has fared. In correspondence earlier, our colleagues told me that, for the moment, they are concentrating on their families and homes; fortunately there were no injuries at the facility – the rest is painful and expensive, but can be repaired.
“Initial assessment of the spallation source reports that the target moved by 30 cm (!) and that two annex buildings subsided by about 30 cm. The main target building and instrument shielding seems to be fine. I do not have any information yet about the accelerator. Further assessment of damage will be made over the next few weeks but one can estimate a recovery period of several months. We have offered help to them as they go through what is likely to be a very difficult recovery period.
“For the moment let’s be thankful that they and their families are safe.”

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.

One thought on “ORNL official: damage at Japan’s neutron source

  1. Caribou

    The bigger news is that Billy Stair, who was notified by management that he was fired about a month has annouced where he is going. The lab let him take the early buy out to keep him quiet, but all you have to do is ask management why he left — we all know!

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