The Spallation Neutron Source is a user-oriented accelerator complex with a fully subscribed users list each run period. Most shutdowns are relatively short and packed with carefully coordinated activities to keep the accelerator running and occasionally integrate machine or instrument upgrades.
Accelerator Operators are asked to propose their shutdown projects and pick groups they will collaborate with during these shutdown periods. Once those projects are approved by management, operators are expected to report weekly for time spent while simultaneously maintaining current status in training activities. If the operator does not opt to generate a project, there are operations-related projects that are assigned by management.
At the end of the year 2017, SNS began the longest shutdown in its operating history. My project for this shutdown would be to write a proposal for discretionary beam time, requesting Neutron Beam Analysis of the Cesium cartridges we use in the Ion Source for Neutron Production. This would be the first time any operator had been a user as well as the first time any part of the source of the neutron beam would be analyzed by neutron beam, completing a full circle in the science and materials analysis performed at SNS.