10th anniversary of beam on target at SNS

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Key members of the Spallation Neutron Source team were all smiles as monitors showed the first signs of neutron production on April 28, 2006. From left to right,  John Haines, then-SNS Director Thom Mason, Erik Iverson, Tony Gabriel, Les Price, David Freeman and Ian Anderson. (ORNL photo)

Thursday was the 10th anniversary of the startup of the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

At about 1:30 p.m. on April 28, 2006, a powerful proton beam struck the liquid mercury target for the first time, ejecting trillions of neutrons.

It was an exciting time for those on the staff at the research facility atop Chestnut Ridge. Crowds of employees and special guests gathered in the SNS control room to watch monitors for signs that spallation had occurred.

During normal operations, the proton beam strikes the target about 60 times a second, providing massive streams of neutrons that researchers use to explore 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.