Nuclear poison (or neutron poison)

In reactor physics, a substance (other than fissionable material) that has a large capacity for absorbing neutrons in the vicinity of the reactor core. This effect may be undesirable in some reactor applications because it may prevent or disrupt the fission chain reaction, thereby affecting normal operation. However, neutron-absorbing materials (commonly known as "poisons") are intentionally inserted into some types of reactors to decrease the reactivity of their initial fresh fuel load. (Adding poisons, such as control rods or boron, is described as adding "negative reactivity" to the reactor.)

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, March 09, 2021