Proton Power Upgrade Project

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) operates the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) as advanced neutron scattering user facilities and centers of innovation and scientific excellence. Providing researchers with access to cutting-edge neutron scattering capabilities enables them to use the unique properties of neutrons to advance scientific discovery and to solve today’s most challenging technology problems. To meet this mission, ORNL continually enhances the capabilities of SNS and HFIR.

Keeping SNS and HFIR at the forefront internationally is central to ensuring continued US leadership in neutron science and technology. The Proton Power Upgrade (PPU) project—aimed at increasing the neutron flux of beams at the First Target Station (FTS) and advancing SNS’ capability to power a future Second Target Station (STS)—is critical to maintaining US leadership in neutron scattering and related technologies. PPU will involve upgrading the SNS accelerator complex to double the currently available proton beam power from 1.4 to 2.8 MW. 

With these enhancements to FTS, PPU will: 

  • Enable new scientific discoveries in the areas of soft matter, quantum materials, chemistry, functional materials, and biology.
  • Facilitate experiments that currently are not feasible or routine, such as time-resolved in situ measurements, experiments on smaller or less-concentrated samples, and experiments under more extreme environmental conditions. 
  • Speed up data collection, making it possible for more researchers to complete more experiments each year.
  • Provide the power necessary for the long-planned Second Target Station(STS) with the highest peak brightness beams of cold neutrons at low repetition rates in the world.

STS in turn will provide unprecedented access to mesoscale and complex matter, complementing existing and future FTS capabilities, with its high-peak brightness beams of thermal neutrons at high-repetition rates, and HFIR capabilities, with its continuous beams with high time-averaged flux. This strategy will ensure that US researchers have access to world-leading neutron scattering capabilities to address critical emerging challenges into the future.