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Neutron Activation Analysis

Neutron activation analysis (NAA) is a precise analytical method, which serves to establish the elemental composition of investigated samples, both quantitative and qualitative. The method is based on the transformation of originally stable atoms in the analysed substance into unstable isotopes, after interaction with neutrons produced in the reactor. The break-up of these unstable nuclides is usually accompanied by characteristic gamma radiation, which is possible to measure, and from its amount subsequently to ascertain a representation of the original mother element. The sensitivity of the method is different for different elements, depending on their atomic characteristics and neutron field parameters, in which the irradiation took place. To examine changes in the neutron field it is possible using NAA methods to use one of three types of standardisation: absolute, relative or comparative.

The LVR-15 reactor is equipped with one channel with pneumatic equipment which allows rapid transport of samples to conduct short-term NAA on small samples (the laboratory is run by the Institute of Nuclear physics at the Czech Science Academy). For long-term irradiation, or NAA of larger samples, it is possible to use further vertical irradiation channels in the reactor.