Experimental study of columnar recombination in fission chambers
In this paper, we present experimental saturation curves of a small gap miniature fission chamber obtained in the MINERVE reactor. The chamber is filled with argon at various pressures, and the fissile material can be coated on the anode, cathode, or both. For analyzing the recombination regime, we consider a model of columnar recombination and discuss its applicability to our chamber. By applying this model to the data, it is possible to estimate the ratio between the recombination coefficient k and an effective column radius b, appearing in the model, to be k/b = (2.5 +/- 0.9) x 10(-6) m(2)/s for argon. From these results, a routine measurement of the recombination regime is proposed in order to detect gas leakage. This online diagnosis would be beneficial in terms of lifetime and reliability of the neutron instrumentation of nuclear reactors. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.