The neutron reactor PIK near St. Petersburg will start operating in the first half of 2011

PIK neutron research reactor, which began to be built in the Soviet era, will be operational in the first half of 2011, told reporters on Tuesday the director of RRC "Kurchatov Institute" Mikhail Kovalchuk. "In the first half of 2011, we plan to launch a physical" — Kovalchuk said.

He recalled that the reactor began to create more than 20 years ago, and with the beginning of the restructuring of its construction stopped altogether. A few years ago, it was decided to resume its construction, which have been allocated hundreds of millions of dollars, said the head of the Kurchatov Institute. Start the reactor was initially scheduled for the spring of 2010, but due to funding problems, he was detained.

"Now the situation is completely normal, very positive. But bear in mind that this is a complex radiation-dangerous object, you will need to pass inspection, permission RTN ", — said Kovalchuk.

The high-beam-PIK reactor, whose construction in the St. Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics, Gatchina Konstantinov began in 1970, will be a unique ultra-high-intensity neutron source. The reactor can "give" a neutron flux density of 10 to 15-degree neutrons per second per square centimeter, and the so-called "center channel" — 5 to 10 in the 15 th degree. Only three reactors in the world: two in the United States and one in Europe (Laue-Langevin Institute, France) have a flux density of 10 at 15 degree neutrons.

Installation planning to use as a kind of x-ray machine. The neutron flux is "shine" samples of various materials, but, unlike X-rays, a much larger depth and with greater detail. In addition, neutron flux "sees" are transparent to x-ray materials, such as hydrogen that allow detailed study of biological molecules and polymers.

On the PIK reactor can simultaneously work 50 units. At its closest competitor — the reactor of the Institute Laue-Langevin — the possibilities are modest, it can work only 40 groups. At the reactor PIK already want to work by German scientists: in particular the Russian reactor is planned to move eight experimental units from one of the neutron reactors in Germany.

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