The inner plug assembly (IPA) represents one of the largest procurements for the SNS target systems, and was awarded to RTS Nuclear Solutions International.
The IPA fits into the target core vessel, surrounds the mercury target and moderators, and reflects neutrons that would otherwise be lost back into those systems. The design is highly intricate because of the close integration of the moderators and the inner plug and provides for maximum neutron output from the SNS target.
The complexity of the IPA is increased by the requirement to supply heavy water cooling to the reflector and cryogens to the moderators. The IPA is scheduled for delivery in December. When completed in 2006, SNS will become the world's leading research facility for study of the structure and dynamics of materials using neutrons. It will operate as a user facility that will enable researchers from the United States and abroad to study the science of materials that forms the basis for new technologies in telecommunications, manufacturing, transportation, information technology, biotechnology and health.
ORNL is a multiprogram science and technology laboratory managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.