Ghostly glow of nuclear power plant found in clear water 150 miles away

(ORDO NEWS) — Buried under miles of rock in Ontario, Canada, a reservoir of purest water burst into flames when a barely visible particle slammed into its molecules.

This is the first time that water has been used to detect a known particle. like an antineutrino that originated from a nuclear reactor over 240 kilometers (150 miles) away.

This incredible breakthrough promises neutrino experiments and monitoring technologies that use inexpensive, readily available, and safe materials.

As one of the most common particles in the universe, neutrinos are strange little things with great potential for deeper detection. insight into the universe.

Unfortunately, they have almost no mass, no charge, and almost no interaction with other particles.

Basically, they flow through space and rocks, as if all matter were incorporeal. There is a reason they are known as ghost particles.

An antineutrino is an antiparticle analog of a neutrino.

Typically, an antiparticle has the opposite charge of its particle equivalent; the antiparticle of a negatively charged electron, for example, is a positively charged positron.

Because neutrinos carry no charge, scientists can only tell them apart based on the fact that an electron neutrino appears next to a positron and an electron antineutrino appears along with an electron.

Electron antineutrinos emitted during nuclear beta decay, a type of radioactive decay in which a neutron decays into a proton, an electron, and an antineutrino.

One of these electron antineutrinos can then interact with a proton to form a positron and a neutron, a reaction known as inverse beta decay. decay.

They are designed to capture the faint glow of Cherenkov radiation created by charged particles moving faster than light can travel through a liquid, similar to the sonic boom created when breaking a sound barrier. Therefore, they are very sensitive to very weak light.

Antineutrinos are produced in huge quantities by nuclear reactors, but they have a relatively low energy, making them difficult to detect.

Enter CHO+. Buried under over 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) of rock, this is the deepest underground laboratory in the world.

This rock shield provides an effective barrier against cosmic ray interference, allowing scientists to receive exceptionally high-resolution signals.

Today, the laboratory’s 780-ton spherical tank is filled with linear alkylbenzene, a liquid scintillator that amplifies light. Back in 2018, when the unit was being calibrated, it was filled with ultrapure water.

After analyzing 190 days of data collected at this calibration stage back in 2018, the SNO+ collaboration found evidence for inverse beta decay.

The neutron produced during this process is captured by the hydrogen nucleus in the water, which in turn creates a soft glow with a very specific energy level, 2.2 megaelectronvolts.

Water Cherenkov detectors usually have difficulty detecting signals. below 3 megaelectronvolts; but the water-filled SNO+ was able to detect up to 1.4 MeV.

This gives an efficiency of about 50 percent to detect signals at the 2.2 megaelectronvolt level, so the team decided that looking for signs of reverse beta decay was worth their luck.

Analysis of the candidate signal showed that this is likely. an antineutrino is produced, with a confidence level of 3 sigma – a probability of 99.7%.

The result suggests that water detectors can be used to monitor the power generation of nuclear reactors.

Meanwhile, SNO+ is being used to better understand neutrinos and antineutrinos. Since neutrinos cannot be measured directly, we know little about them.

One of the biggest questions is whether neutrinos and antineutrinos are the same particle. This question will be answered by a rare, never-before-seen decay. SNO+ is currently looking for this breakup.

“We are intrigued that pure water can be used to measure antineutrinos from reactors and at such large distances,” says physicist Logan Lebanowski of the SNO+ collaboration and the University of California, Berkeley.

“We have made significant effort


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