Benchmarks of Computational Tools against Experimental Data on Fuel Burnup and Material Activation for Utilization, Operation and Safety Analysis of Research Reactors

Closed for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code




Approved Date

18 June 2014


4 - Closed

Start Date

23 February 2015

Expected End Date

22 February 2019

Completed Date

12 March 2020

Participating Countries

South Africa
United States of America


With the progress in computer technology and numerical methods, the capabilities of computer codes have been substantially enhanced, which allows for improved simulation of the complex processes taking place during routine operation of research reactors and under transient conditions. Correct application of these methods and codes is essential to improve design, operation/utilization, and safety aspects of research reactors and associated experiments. However, the validation of computational codes is not an easy task. In order to demonstrate the capabilities of these computational methods and codes, it is necessary to benchmark them against experimental data, before assessing the validity of their application to the design, operation and safety analysis of research reactors. This CRP will support the validation process by collecting available experimental data and assessing the computational methods and tools used for fuel burnup and material activation in research reactor analysis. The outputs of the CRP will be a database of experimental results, measurements and associated facility specifications, and a publication comparing the experimental and computational results of the benchmark studies.


The overall objective of this CRP is to increase the knowledge and expertise of Member States in the area of numerical analysis to improve the design, operation, utilization, safety and decommissioning of research reactors. The results of the CRP, thanks to the new data base  to be created by the end of the project, will be especially useful for optimizing core management and experimental programmes while maintaining safety. The CRP will also encourage cooperation and foster exchange of information among the counterparts.

Specific objectives

Identify user effects and model/library discrepancies on the results predicted by the computer codes.

Perform benchmark studies of burnup and activation computer codes against experimental data, and develop a comprehensive report on the results of these benchmark studies.

Collect experimental data, and, after thorough review, develop a comprehensive database of experimental results, measurements and associated facility specifications that is useful for supporting verification and validation of burnup and activation computer codes.

Develop recommendations on open issues in the area of numerical analysis of research reactors for future research and development activities.


The impact of the CRP was immediate. Many of the participants used this CRP as an educational and development opportunity for their junior staff, and to develop deeper understanding of their reactor physics models.


The determination of relevance comes from the popularity of the technical meetings that were held during the course of the CRP (one in 2017 and one in 2019), and participant recommendations for subsequent studies or possible CRP.

Stay in touch