• Question: what is neutron irradiation

    Asked by matthewwilson to James on 19 Mar 2012.
    • Photo: James Boone

      James Boone answered on 19 Mar 2012:

      Neutron irradiation means to expose something to a source of fast neutrons. In a nuclear reactor, the fuel is normally Uranium, which emits neutrons when the radioactive nuclei decay. The graphite is in the path of these neutrons to slow them down, and is said to be “irradiated” by the neutrons. This irradiation process damages the graphite lattice when they collide with the carbon atoms making up the graphite material.