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Reactor poisons
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Xenon poisoning
  • The thermal neutron absorption cross section of 135Xe is 2.75 x 106 barns.
  • Like other fission products it is formed directly in fission and also via other members of its isobaric chain.
  • The half life of 135Te is short and effectively 135I may be considered the primary fission product.
  • Direct production of xenon is small compared to production by decay of the iodine.
  • For a period after such a fast shutdown in a high reactor there can be an uncomfortable situation that the reactor cannot be started again; there is not enough excess reactivity built into the system to overcome the large neutron absorption effect from the 135Xe.

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