Restart underway at SNS; neutrons available by Friday

The Spallation Neutron Source is undergoing a phased startup following a lengthy summer maintenance period, which began June 28 after a series of events — good and bad.

“We’re raising power and checking out neutron instruments before production begins for users,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory spokesman David Keim said this afternoon via email.

“Current power is 760 kW, expected to be at 850 kW by late this afternoon. Neutron production is expected Friday,” Keim said.

The lab’s other main neutron source, the HIgh Flux Isotope Reactor, returned to operation in late July following a short maintenance and refueling outage.

“We are nearing the end of the sixth cycle of the year,” Keim said. “We plan to shut down Saturday, Aug. 15, and enter our long fall outage with restart scheduled in early October. The last down time was only nine days, so we mainly refueled the facility and did testing needed to support startup.”

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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.