Contribution of recoil atoms to irradiation damage in absorber materials

D. Simeone, O. Hablot, V. Micalet, P. Bellon, Y. Serruys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Absorbing materials are used to control the reactivity of nuclear reactors by taking advantage of nuclear reactions (e.g., 10B(n,α)7Li) where neutrons are absorbed. During such reactions, energetic recoils are produced. As a result, radiation damage in absorbing materials originates both from these nuclear reactions and from elastic collisions between neutrons and atoms. This damage eventually leads to a partial destruction of the materials, and this is the main limitation on their lifetime in nuclear reactors. Using a formalism developed to calculate displacements per atoms (dpa) in a multi atomic target, we have calculated damages in terms of displacements per atom in a (n,α) absorbing material taking into account geometrical effects of 10 boron self shielding and transmutation reactions induced by neutrons inside the absorber. Radiation damage is calculated for boron carbide and hafnium diboride ceramics in a Pressurized Water Reactor environment. It is shown that recoils produced by nuclear reactions account for the main part of the radiation damage created in these ceramics. Damages are calculated as a function of the distance from the center of an absorber pellet. Due to the self-shielding effect, these damage curves exhibit sharp maxima, the position of which changes in time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-214
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nuclear Materials
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Aug 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering


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