The Spallation Neutron Source is operating like it should, and that is not as simple as it sounds. Last month, eight years after construction was completed and seven years after operations began, the SNS finally achieved the beam power for which it was designed: 1.4 megawatts. Even at lower power levels, the accelerator-based center for materials research set all sorts of records, and scientists from around the globe flocked to Oak Ridge to do experiments with the richest source of neutrons available. It has been a productive journey, but even more is expected with the higher beam power.

Kevin Jones, who heads the Research Accelerators Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, noted that the SNS actually reached 1.4 megawatts last September, for about 30 minutes, but the system was too unstable to continue.

For the first time, the accelerator-based pulsed neutron source operated steadily for users at its baseline design power of 1.4 megawatts on June 26.

"Over the past year, we have implemented technical and operational improvements to provide stable operation at 1.4 MW with little operating margin," said Kevin Jones, director of ORNL's Research Accelerators Division. "This achievement is the result of a lot of hard work by the dedicated and talented staff of our division." Read more here.