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W.R. Hix (UTenn/ORNL), M.S. Smith, A. Mezzacappa (ORNL), S. Starrfield (ASU)
The observable consequences of a nova outburst depend sensitively on the details of the thermonuclear runaway which initiates the outburst. One of the more important sources of uncertainty is the nuclear reaction data used as input for the evolutionary calculations. A recent paper by Starrfield, Truran, Wiescher & Sparks (1998) has demonstrated that changes in the reaction rate library used within a nova simulation have significant effects, not just on the production of individual isotopes (which can change by an order of magnitude), but on global observables such as the peak luminosity and the amount of mass ejected. We will present preliminary results of systematic analyses of the impact of reaction rate uncertainties on nova nucleosynthesis. The primary goal of our study is to translate these uncertainties in reaction rate data into uncertainties in model nucleosynthesis predictions and thereby quantify the extent of disagreement between theory and observation. We also will examine the relative importance of changes in individual reaction rates and hope to provide guidance in the selection of reactions for further experimental study. Research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under contract DE-AC05-96OR22464 with Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corp.