Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Supplying Accurate Nuclear Data for energy and non-energy Applications

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SANDA (Supplying Accurate Nuclear Data for energy and non-energy Applications)

Reporting period: 2021-03-01 to 2022-08-31

Nuclear data tools are a critical element of the nuclear energy industry and research, playing an essential role in the simulation of nuclear systems for nuclear energy and non-energy applications, for the assessment of safety and performance of reactors and for the use of radioactive materials in health and other applications. No matter how sophisticated any tool is, no simulation or calculation can be better than the nuclear data they use. Several parameters, particularly safety parameters of reactors, need a precision < 0.1% requiring nuclear data precisions of few percent. In other cases the precision needed can range from 5 to 20% but the isotope or material to be measured is highly radioactive or scarce. So, despite decades of R&D, these precisions have still not been reached for all the data needed, raising important challenges. The tools and experiments being developed in SANDA, will bring at reach the target precision for some important isotopes. In addition, SANDA will contribute to prepare the path (new detectors, facilities and methods) for future experiments addressing the remaining nuclear data needs.

The SANDA project puts together most of the European nuclear data community and infrastructures to prepare the detectors, facilities and tools to produce accurate and reliable nuclear data tools (data, codes and methods) that can be used to simulate, analyse and optimize the safety of nuclear energy and non-energy applications. The project is built taking into account the High Priority Nuclear Data needs list from OECD/NEA and IAEA.

SANDA includes 35 partners from 18 countries from EU plus Switzerland and the most relevant facilities to measure nuclear data. The participants of SANDA are strongly involved in international organizations dedicated to nuclear data (NEA/OECD and IAEA). SANDA also collaborates with the ARIEL project.

SANDA benefits from upgraded facilities and tools from previous EURATOM projects and uses newly developed detectors, methods and targets. SANDA also is developing and applying new evaluation and validation tools and associated integral experiments with special attention to the production and use of uncertainties and correlation matrices for experimental and evaluated data. The project covers the whole energy region for the needs of thermal and fast neutron reactors and non-energy applications, including the high energy data (up to few GeV) needed for the ADS and medical applications.

Special attention is given to use the research in SANDA for training of young scientists and engineers that will learn by doing during their PhD. Also, special care will be applied to the early and efficient dissemination of the project results to the EU community of nuclear data users.
During the first 36th months, SANDA has concentrated efforts on the developments of new innovative detector devices, differential measurements and target preparation, as well as data evaluation and validation with integral experiments.

Achievements on new detectors for fission include a first prototype of the Micromegas XY-strip, the validation of a new Gaseous Proton Recoil Telescope, FALSTAFF improved and ready for experiments at NFS, test of the new n-detector BRIKEN, test of SCONE neutron detector (Stilbene) and test of the new facility for half-lives at CEA/LNE-LNHB. Also large progress was made for gamma detectors including new electronics for HPGe at n_TOF, and the construction and use in actual measurements of the sTED and i-TED detectors for capture at n_TOF. Detectors for non-energy application are also being tested with beam at n_TOF.

As for target preparation, 12 samples have been produced by PSI and JRC. Additionally, the design for the development of an isotope separator (to prepare special samples) has been completed and the preparation of the site at PSI is ongoing.

SANDA is also performing new nuclear data measurements including:
- cross sections at n_TOF for fission in 235U, 230Th, 241Am and 239Pu and nubar data taken at MONNET@JRC-Geel.
- in-beam tests and detectors (MEDLEY) for (n,chp) adapted to NFS. Experiments have started to measure 16O(n,alpha), 19F(n,alpha) and natC(n,lchp) . Also 89Y(n,xp/xd) was measured at NPI facilities.
- activation experiments at the LR-0 and VR-1 reactors with foils of 54Fe, Fe, Y, Mo, Au, V, Ti, Cu, Nb), 14N, 58Ni, 27Al and 19F.
- on-going measurements of the 239Pu(n,g) and Mo(n,g) at GELINA and n_TOF.
- measurements of inelastic reactions at GELINA for 14N, 238U, 233U and 239Pu. Also at GELINA, 209Bi(n,g) and 209Bi(n,tot) measurements have been done.
- TAGS measurement of the 96,96mY isomers at the IGISOL
- β-delayed neutrons were measured for isotopes ranging from Sb to La at RIKEN using BELEN and AIDA detectors.
- absolute measurement of the 235U fission yields with LOHENGRIN at ILL.
- identification of the 2 fission fragments from 238U(p,2p) fission, as subrogate for 237Pa, at GSI/FAIR.
- for non-energy applications: 117Sn(n,inl)117mSn data for dosimetry.
- measurement of production of long-lived beta+ emitters (used for health diagnostic) via: 12C(p,x)11C, 14N(p,x)11C, 14N(p,x)13N, 14N(p,γ)15O, 16O(p,x)11C, 16O(p,x)13N and 16O(p,x)15O up to 200 MeV of p energy. Also for short lived beta emitters 12C(p,n)12N, 31P(p,pnn)29P and 40Ca(p,ppn)38mK up to 200 MeV have been measured.

New versions of TALYS and EMPIRE have been distributed. Progress on new evaluations of cross sections of actinides (U235, U238 and Pu239), structural materials (Al27, Ti48, Ti50, Ni58,60,61,64, Cr50,52,53,54) and fission fragments as Os186-188, and La139 and evaluation of the nuclear structure and decay of 131I, 140La, 117Sn, and the A=101, A=103 and A=107 mass chains.

Improving processing and sensitivity calculations already helped improving JEFF3-3 and provided AMPX-version of the JEFF libraries. Also the ESFR, MYRRHA and ALFRED sensitivity and impact studies have been completed. Furthermore, the most relevant existing benchmarks, for different applications of nuclear data, had been identified and many C/E validations had been performed for the benchmarks selected.

Additionally, new integral experiments are being prepared at GELINA, MINERVE, LR-0 and TAPIRO. First experiments at GELINA using MINERVE samples affect 107Ag, 109Ag and 99Tc isotopes. On the other hand, the experiments at LR-0 have provided a new benchmark for βeff.
The new detectors will improve performance on efficiency, sensitivity and resolution beyond the present state of the art.
The preparation for an isotope separator will have large impact on samples for future experiments.
The measurements of SANDA will improve the precision of previous data, provide non-existing data and extend the energy and isotope ranges.
The new evaluations should provide better files and with covariance information for actinides and important fission products and structural materials. Also new evaluations will improve the ENDF/ENSDF JEFF libraries.

With all these elements, the project is expected to contribute, directly and indirectly, to the enhancement of the safety and competitiveness of the European nuclear industry, also allowing to reduce operation and design margins, without sacrificing safety standards of present reactors, and in more competitive designs of new nuclear reactors and facilities. This enhancement of safety also will apply to the waste management, storage, reprocessing or disposal, and to the decommissioning of nuclear facilities.
SANDA Objectives