Elastic scattering cross-sections for light elements are more or less independent of neutron energy up to 1 MeV. Nearly all elements have scattering cross-sections in the range of 2 to 20 barns. Periodic Table
Elastic Scattering Cross-section
To be an effective moderator, the probability of elastic reaction between neutron and the nucleus must be high. In terms of cross-sections, the elastic scattering cross section of a moderator’s nucleus must be high.
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