A fast neutron is a free neutron with a kinetic energy level close to 1 MeV (10 TJ/kg, hence a speed of 14,000 km/s. They are named fast neutrons to distinguish them from lower-energy thermal neutrons, and high energy neutrons produced in cosmic showers. Fast neutrons are produced by nuclear processes such as nuclear fission.
Fast neutrons can be made into thermal neutrons via a process called moderation. This is done with a neutron moderator. In reactors, typically heavy water, light water, or graphite are used to moderate neutrons.
Last updated: 06-02-2005 01:49:22