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Neutrinos from Terrestrial Sources vs. Neutrinos from Beta Decay in WIPP

Maximum possible neutrino flux in the experiment gallery from waste in WIPP is neglible compared to naturally occurring neutrino flux from radioactive elements in the Earth's crust.

A conservative calculation can be made of the flux of neutrinos (actually anti-neutrinos) expected from beta decay components of the waste destined to be placed in WIPP over the planned 35-yr lifetime of the facility.  The accompanying graph shows the projected flux (red line) in the experiment gallery from the waste.

The calculation assumes all of the inventory is "in place", and that it is all at a point source at the nearest distance to the experiment gallery (1km).  The neutrino flux from naturally occurring Uranium, Thorium and Potassium in the crust of the earth (blue, purple and green lines) is calculated assuming all natural sources are uniformly distributed within a 100km thick crustal shell.  The black line shows the sum of all naturally occurring neutrino flux sources.

As shown by the red line, the greatest flux from waste components is due to the decay of Pu241.  However, max for Pu241 is only 21keV, and the neutrino background at this low energy should be of no concern for experimental neutrino research in the foreseeable future.  For higher energy beta decay components, the projected neutrino flux from the waste is about 1-2 orders of magnitude below that projected due to natural sources in the crust of the earth.

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