Even though the exact reactor conditions are only reproduced inside a reactor, it is possible to simulate the effects of neutrons and gamma radiation on materials by irradiating by ion and electron accelerators.
The fundamental facility of the Laboratory of Irradiation of materials is formed by three different ion accelerators to provide the capability to irradiate samples with up to three different ions simultaneously. This is what we call the “triple beam”.
These three accelerators will be two linear ones –with voltages of 5 and 6 MV--, and a multi-ion cyclotron. With them, the effect of radiation generated in a nuclear fusion reactor –mostly neutrons and gamma rays— could be simulated with the actual use of such an expensive facility.
The cyclotron-accelerated ions will generate the damage on the target material by displacing the atoms from their positions in the lattice, much as done by neutronic radiation. The hydrogen and helium implanted in the target by the linear accelerators simulate the transmutation effects of the high energy neutrons in it.
The effects of ionizing gamma radiation will be studied using a Rhodotron® electron accelerator with a fixed energy of 10 MeV that will be shared with other TechnoFusión areas.
Additionally, a high magnetic field, between 5 and 10 T, must be incorporated into this facility to study the simultaneous effect of radiation and magnetic fields on materials.