N32: Experimental Reactor Physics


The unit takes place in Vienna, Austria or Prague, Czech Republic. The unit consists of various experiments and hands-on training focused on the reactor and neutron physics, nuclear reactor dynamics, nuclear safety, and operation of nuclear reactor. The participants take active part in all experiments, and independently evaluate experimental data. The principles of neutron detection, the importance of delayed neutrons and their properties, the operating parameters of nuclear reactor, basic phenomena of reactor kinetics and dynamics are studied and demonstrated during various reactor experiments and measurements. Knowledge of the reactor I&C and safety aspects of nuclear reactor operation are gained during the hands-on reactor control

On completion, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a full understanding of the basic phenomena of reactor physics, behaviour of nuclear reactor and conditions for its safe operation.
  • Analyse and interpret data from reactor experiments and measurements.
  • Set-up neutron detection system and use it for an in-core reactor measurement.
  • Determine the delayed neutrons properties, their importance and utilize them for further measurements.
  • Measure and determine the neutron flux, control rod worth and reactivity by various methods.
  • Analyse and explain the reactor behaviour at various operating states and conditions and the reactor response to reactivity changes
  • Start-up and control zero-power reactor.
  • Evaluate the experimental results, prepare the lab protocols and present them.


  • Measurement of the thermal neutron flux density in the reactor core
  • Measurement of the fast neutron flux in the reactor core centre
  • Determination of material- and void feedback on reactivity
  • Measurement of the absorption cross section
  • Reactivity and reactor period
  • Measurement of the background radiation around the reactor at full power
  • Critical experiment
  • Control rod calibration and determination of the core excess reactivity
  • Calibration of the shim rod in the sub-critical region
  • Determination of the reactivity value of uranium fuel- and graphite elements in different core positions
  • Reactor power calibration and determination of the temperature coefficient of the reactivity
  • Demonstration of a reactor pulse with different reactivity insertion
  • Introduction to Reactor Instrumentation
  • Experiments with Neutron Detectors