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News article6 July 20201 min read

The new JRC tandem accelerator MONNET is ready for operation

Figure 1: View on the MONNET pressure tank that contains the 3.5MV tandem accelerator
© EU, 2020

On July 2, 2020 the Belgian authorities granted permission to operate the MONNET (MONo energetic Neutron Tower) accelerator

Commissioning of JRC MONNET started following approval by the Belgian authorities of the non-important modification file, the operational procedures and the test and commissioning protocols. Commissioning of the radiation safety system and facility operation went very smoothly and on February 14, the tandem accelerator (Fig. 1) reached its maximum terminal voltage of 3.6 MV. On February 17, the first beam of protons with a kinetic energy of 2 MeV and 10 microampere was developed and proved very stable (Fig. 2). First nuclear reactions were observed (Fig. 3) with the protons striking the beam stop.

© EU, 2020
Figure 3: Characteristic gamma ray spectra from inelastic scattering of protons with a kinetic energy of 2 MeV on two different MONNET beam stops, one made of tantalum, the other of aluminium. The gamma rays were detected with a CeBr3 detector.
© EU, 2020

The next milestone is the provision of proton beams for the exploratory research project IB4N studying radiation damage of materials. This will be the first of a long list of studies waiting for experiment time at this new research infrastructure of JRC, supporting the work programme and providing an important contribution to the initiative for open access to JRC research infrastructure.

These exciting new developments deserve special thanks to the MONNET team leader (Stephan Oberstedt), the MONNET technical team (Cedric Bonaldi, Thierry Gamboni, Wouter Geerts, Marzio Vidali), the Health Physics Service (Andreas Fessler, Nico Sevenhans, Jeff Goosens) and Petya Malo for document review.


Publication date
6 July 2020