Neutron Capture and the Antineutrino Yield from Nuclear Reactors

Patrick Huber, Patrick Jaffke
2016 Physical Review Letters  
We identify a new, flux-dependent correction to the antineutrino spectrum as produced in nuclear reactors. The abundance of certain nuclides, whose decay chains produce antineutrinos above the threshold for inverse beta decay, has a nonlinear dependence on the neutron flux, unlike the vast majority of antineutrino producing nuclides, whose decay rate is directly related to the fission rate. We have identified four of these so-called nonlinear nuclides and determined that they result in an
more » ... result in an antineutrino excess at low-energies below 3.2MeV, dependent on the reactor thermal neutron flux. We develop an analytic model for the size of the correction and compare it to the results of detailed reactor simulations for various real existing reactors, spanning 3 orders of magnitude in neutron flux. In a typical pressurized water reactor the resulting correction can reach 0.9% of the low energy flux which is comparable in size to other, known low-energy corrections from spent nuclear fuel and the non-equilibrium correction. For naval reactors the nonlinear correction may reach the 10% level.
doi:10.1103/physrevlett.116.122503 pmid:27058075 fatcat:dfjk2pj4wvez7knhxzs2zo66tq