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Seaborne Reactors May Affect Neutrino Experiments

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Physicists at Stanford University in California suggest in the Nov. 4 Physical Review Letters that the neutrinos produced by nuclear reactors on naval vessels may interfere with neutrino oscillation research. They note, however, that Russian nuclear icebreakers offer a means of performing precision antineutrino experiments.

The researchers estimated the thermal power of US aircraft carriers based on that of Russian Typhoon-class submarines and calculated the resulting antineutrino flux and counts. Their results indicate that the detectors in the Gran Sasso mountains in Italy and at Kamioka in Japan may receive nontrivial noise from these sources with regard to high-precision experiments.

Similarly, the two 100-MW reactors aboard an Arktica-class icebreaker could serve as a variable-baseline antineutrino source. They estimate that one of the ships, which are used in the off-season for sightseeing tours, could be chartered for $1 million per month.

Photonics Spectra
Jan 2003
naval vesselsneutrino oscillation researchneutrinosnuclear reactorsResearch & TechnologySensors & Detectors

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