ROSATOM supplied the next batch of 76Ge, produced by TVEL Fuel Company (nuclear fuel division of ROSATOM), for the second phase of GERDA international experiment searching for neutrinoless double beta decay.
The shipment was made under the contract between Isotope JSC (the sole isotopes exporter of ROSATOM) and the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, which leads a consortium of University Groups from TU M?nchen, Univ. T?bingen and TU Dresden funded through the BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research).
Search for neutrinoless double beta decay is currently one of the major topics in particle and underground physics. This area of research received public recognition in 2015 when the Nobel Prize in Physics was rewarded for the discovery of neutrino oscillations,
There are several international experiments simultaneously investigating this rare event, including GERDA installation that uses detectors made of extra-pure germanium (hence the name - GERmanium Detector Array). In its turn, germanium enrichment with 76Ge isotope is exclusively manufactured only at Electrochemical Plant JSC (an enterprise of ROSATOM’s Fuel Company TVEL) located in Krasnoyarsk region, Eastern Siberia.
The first phase of the GERDA experiment didn`t find neutrinoless double beta decay of 76Ge, but some promising data was collected. At the moment the international team of scientists is preparing the second phase of the project with an advanced sensibility of the installation.
The Russian Party provided a full range of services making this shipment as smooth as possible. At first, for ensuring the required by the Contract chemical properties of 76Ge isotope several isotope samples were delivered to Germany. Additionally the enrichment process was performed in a way that the enriched material and semi products were above ground without shielding for a limited period of time. Moreover, for protecting the material from cosmic radiation it was kept during all production stages in an underground storage. The enriched isotope was transported by car from the eastern part of Russia to Germany (it`s about 6,700 km) in a special protective shipping package that was exclusively made in Russia several years ago and updated by the German Party for this project.