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Neutron absorber

    Isotopes of certain elements absorb free neutrons creating higher isotopes of the same element The most prolific neutron absorbers are elements that become stable by absorbing a neutron such as Xe-133 which absorbs a neutron to become Xe-134 Xe-133 has a half life of 5.2 days while Xe-134 is stable Xe-133 is formed in fission reactors through the splitting of actinide metals indirectly as a decay product of I-133 which also has a short half life Other isotopes that are major neutron absorbers include He-3 which becomes He-4 and Boron-11 which becomes Boron-12 and decays in .2 seconds into Carbon-12 Other neutron absorbers used in fission power plants include Cadmium and Gandolinium both of which consist of mixed isotopes some of which are are voracious neutron absorbers Boron Cadmium and Gandolinium are all used as neutron absorbers in commercial fission power plants while Xe-133 occurs naturally as a byproduct of the fission process

    See also

    Nuclear poison