SNS getting back on track

snsinstrumentationThe Spallation Neutron Source today reached beam power just above 1 megawatt, gradually getting back to the desired power levels for neutron production and research applications. The SNS has endured a period of upset and uncertainty.

“It is good to be back at that level,” Kevin Jones, a division director at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said via email.

Jones said the lab plans to let the machine “condition” over the weekend, stabilizing at the new power ramp up, and then make a few tweaks next week to adjust and prepare for further power increases.

The goal is to achieve 1.2-1.25 megawatts by Wednesday or Thursday, he said.

Generally speaking, the higher the beam power the more neutrons that are produced, and more neutrons means better research capabilities.

Scientists come to Oak Ridge from around the nation and the world to do experiments at the SNS, using streams of neutrons to explore the properties of materials.

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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.