During the 1960s, before Apollo 11, Heinrich Wänke and his group had begun to set up radiochemical procedures for trace element analyses with neutron activation. They tested their methods with analyses of meteorites. With the construction and easy availability of the TRIGA low power research reactors, neutron activation had become the most important tool for chemical analyses of small samples. The TRIGA reactors were constructed in the US in the 1950s. They are inherently safe, because they have a negative temperature coefficient of reactivity, meaning that as the temperature of the core increases, the reactivity rapidly decreases, making a meltdown...

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