Gaisbauer, D.; Konorov, I.; Steffen, D.; Paul, S.
The aim of PENeLOPE (Precision Experiment on Neutron Lifetime Operating with Proton Extraction) at the Forschungsreaktor München II is a high-precision measurement of the neutron lifetime and thereby an improvement of the parameter's precision by one order of magnitude. In order to achieve a higher accuracy, modern experiments naturally require state-of-the-art readout electronics, as well as high-performance data acquisition systems. This paper presents the self-triggering readout system designed for PENeLOPE which features a continuous pedestal tracking, configurable signal detection logic, floating ground up to 30 kV, cryogenic environment and the novel Switched Enabling Protocol (SEP). The SEP is a time-division multiplexing transport level protocol developed for a star network topology.
Since 1956, nuclear research and development (R and D) in Germany has been supported by the Federal Government. The goal was to help German industry to become competitive in all fields of nuclear technology. National research centers were established and demonstration plants were built. In the meantime, all these facilities were shut down and are now in a state of decommissioning and dismantling (D and D). Meanwhile, Germany is one of the leading countries in the world in the field of D and D. Two big demonstration plants, the Niederaichbach Nuclear Power Plant (KKN) a heavy-water cooled pressure tube reactor with carbon-dioxide cooling and the Karlstein Superheated Steam Reactor (HDR) a boiling light water reactor with a thermal power of 100 MW, are totally dismantled and 'green field' is reached. Another big project was finished in 2008. The Forschungs-Reaktor Juelich 1 (FRJ1), a research reactor with a thermal power of 10 MW was completely dismantled and in September 2008 an oak tree was planted on a green field at the site, where the FRJ1 was standing before. This is another example for German success in the field of D and D. Within these projects a lot of new solutions and innovative techniques were tested, which were developed at German universities and in small and medium sized companies mostly funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Some examples are underwater-cutting technologies like plasma arc cutting and contact arc metal cutting. This clearly shows that research on the field of D and D is important for the future. Moreover, these research activities are important to save the know-how in nuclear engineering in Germany and will enable enterprises to compete on the increasing market of D and D services. The author assumes that an efficient decommissioning of nuclear installations will help stabilize the credibility of nuclear energy. Some critics of nuclear energy are insisting that a return to 'green field sites' is not possible