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TVEL JSC enterprise has supplied 76Ge for the second phase of GERDA international scientific project

03.08.2017, 09:54

Electrochemical Plant JSC (Krasnoyarsk region, Eastern Siberia), an enterprise of TVEL Fuel Company, has supplied a new consignment of 76Ge for the second phase of GERDA international experiment searching for  neutrinoless double beta decay. The supply was provided under the contract between Isotope JSC (the single isotopes exporter within Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation) and Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany.
Earlier, neutrino oscillations have established that neutrinos are massive (The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald). Neutrinoless double beta decay can gain information on the absolute neutrino mass scale. Another goal is to prove that neutrinos are their own anti-particles (is such case the decay also violates lepton number conservation). The experimental observation of such fundamental particle – anti-particle symmetry would corroborate theoretical models which explain the smallness of neutrino masses and would shed light on the mechanism generating the present matter dominance of the Universe.
There are several international collaborations simultaneously working  in this field of science using various detector arrays made of different isotopes. GERDA installation, based in Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, Italy, uses detectors made of extra-pure germanium (hence the name - GERmanium Detector Array). In its turn, germanium enrichment with 76Ge isotope is exclusively provided only at Electrochemical Plant JSC, a subsidiary of TVEL Fuel Company.
The first phase of the GERDA experiment has not established 76Ge neutrinoless double beta decay, but it has brought-up an essential leap forward. At the moment the international team of scientists is preparing the second phase of the project with an advanced sensibility of the installation.
The Russian enterprise ensured the necessary chemical properties of 76Ge isotope (acknowledged by the Client as complying with the contract conditions), and together with the exporter managed a complex shipment operation. The interim storage of the consignment was organized in an underground warehouse where the transported materials were packed into the confinement shelter exclusively produced for this shipment, which protected the materials from cosmic radiation.  The Siberian engineers also produced the special purpose transportation container with capabilities equal to the underground shelter.