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Mag. : Instantaneous emission of fast neutrons in the interaction of slow neutrons with uranium. Phys. Rev. : Number of neutrons liberated in the nuclear fission of uranium. : The physical theory of neutron chain reactors. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1958) Chapter 2 Critical Mass and Efficiency Abstract This chapter forms the heart of this book. After deriving the properties of neutron travel through materials, a detailed analysis is presented of how the critical mass of a fissile material, in both “bare” and “tampered” configurations, can be calculated.

62) but is more general as it is entirely independent of the particular shape of the fissioning nucleus. 86) Now consider, as Bohr and Wheeler did, fission into equal-mass product nuclei: f ¼ 1. 208; this behavior is shown as the straight line in Fig. 10. That this result predicts a fission barrier of zero for a value of x > 1 indicates that our simple “two-sphere” model of fission cannot be an accurate representation of the real shape of a fissioning nucleus; we should have f(x) ! 0 as x ! 1. Presumably f(x) should have some shape more akin to the smooth curve shown in Fig.

9; see also Fig. 3. In short, the non-utility of 238U as a weapons material is due not to a lack of fission cross-section for fast neutrons but rather to a parasitic combination of inelastic scattering and a fission threshold below which it has an appreciable capture cross-section for slowed neutrons. 01 MeV is characterized by a dense forest of capture resonances with cross-sections of up to thousands of barns (Hyde 1964; Garwin and Charpak 2001); the curves in Fig. 03 MeV at the low-energy end.

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