Alternative Source for Neutron Generation

Period of Performance: 03/25/2013 - 01/24/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Phoenix Nuclear Labs LLC
2555 Industrial Drive
Monona, WI 53713
Principal Investigator


Phoenix Nuclear Labs (PNL) will perform a comprehensive analysis of all existing and proposed neutron generator technologies that do not utilize highly enriched fissile material. These technologies include the flux compression generator, dense plasma focus, high current deuterium-tritium fusion, and high current electrons incident upon uranium-238. Other technologies will also be identified and evaluated. The best technology will be selected based on its ability to meet the neutron and gamma flux requirements specified by the Army for nuclear survivability testing, and its cost, reliability, regulatory, operational, and security requirements. A conceptual prototype design will be produced in Phase I, and the system will be built and tested at PNL during Phase II. The prototype device will go to WSMR and will produce a burst flux of 6.5x10^13 n/cm^2 during a time scale of microseconds. It will also have a steady state operational mode equivalent to 8 kW operation of the WSMR FBR. The prototype device will not utilize highly enriched fissile material and will greatly reduce the cost and security burden to the Army for nuclear survivability testing. It is anticipated that a functional prototype can be delivered to the Army by the end of 2015.