GRE@T-PIONEeR Two Years On

GREAT-PIONEER Featured Images

During the second year of the project the partners have been busy working to analyse, investigate, and create the different elements needed to launch the innovative teaching courses. Read the details from each work package (WP) below to see exactly what the GRE@T-PIONEeR alliance has been up to!

The Work Package 2: Development of a course package on nuclear data for energy and nonenergy applications has completed the material of the course, including handbooks, videos, exercises, quizzes, etc. The registration for the first course opened on August 22nd, 2022 with a total of 90 registrants! The first course began on 14 October 2022 in asynchronous mode with a total of 50 students, which was the upper limit for this course. The first synchronous session took place 14-18 November 2022 at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain.

Dissemination of WP2 initiatives were carried out in the JEFF Nuclear Data Week– Machine Learning Session on 27 April 2022 and in the 15th International Conference on Nuclear Data for Science & Technology (ND2022), session on Education and Outreach on 25 July 2022.

From the experiments side, during this second year we have made good progress in defining the set of experiments which will be performed in three different research reactors of the project:

  1. The AKR-2 at the Technical University Dresden using activation analysis experiments for a set of irradiated gold foils, neutron transmission measurements and pile oscillator experiments.
  2. The CROCUS reactor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) with gold foil activation measurements and reactivity worth of samples using pile-oscillation techniques.
  3. The BME Training Reactor at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics having activation analysis experiments and measurement of the Doppler effect.

In addition, in this second year we have consolidated the End User Group which actively participated in our first synchronous course. From this End User Group, we had three “Guest Lecturers”:  Dr. Luiz Leal from the Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN), Dr. Ian Hill from the OECD – Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and Dr. Naohiko Otsuka from IAEA/Nuclear Data Section.

Work Package 3: Development of a course package on neutron transport at the fuel cell and assembly levels is focused on the development of a course package on steady-state neutron transport at the fuel cell and assembly levels.

During the second year of the project, the handbook on the topics of the course (Task 3.1) has been finalised by the partners involved (PoliTo, Chalmers and BME). The complementary work for the development of the learning resources, useful for the synchronous session that took place in December 2022 in Chalmers, was carried out. The teaser video for advertising the course was recorded in June, then the partners collaborated on the development of the videos and quizzes to be accessed by the course participants for their preparatory work. The registration period to the course closed in October, with a final number of 39 participants with a large diversity in terms of affiliation and background. The activities for the synchronous session were all finalised, with a large diversity in the active learning techniques used: group discussions supported by quizzes, coding assignments, computer code usage, and exercises aimed at testing the understanding of some theoretical concepts.

The goal of Work Package 4: Development of a course package on core modelling for core design is to conceive a course to teach the methods used for the neutron transport modelling at the core level in steady-state conditions (Monte Carlo and deterministic methods) and how to use them for the design and operation of both research reactors and power reactors.

For that purpose, the following education materials were developed and are now available on the Learning Management System called SOUL:

  • Two handbooks, one on steady-state neutron transport at the core level, and one on LWR core design and operation.
  • A set of 30 short webcasts to illustrate the main aspects of each chapter of the handbooks and a set of online quizzes.
  • Hands-on training exercises including the development and implementation of deterministic methods, the use of deterministic and Monte Carlo codes at the core level and the analysis of the obtained outcomes for core design and operation.

You can check out the different developed teaching resources, and the link among them, in the figure below.

Students, researchers, or engineers interested in deepening their knowledge on techniques to model the neutron transport at the core level can find valuable resources in this course package and acquire competences to master the computational simulation of a nuclear reactor.

The main focus of Work Package 5: Development of a course package on core modelling for transients is on transient simulations requiring the coupling of the different physics involved and their interaction: neutron transport, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, and possibly fuel thermo-mechanics. This WP thus aims at developing course materials (handbooks and hands-on exercises) giving the future students a comprehensive overview of the deterministic methods for non-steady-state conditions, their approximations, and their range of validity for core calculations.

The contents of the handbooks outline the generation of nuclear parameters for transient calculations, general space and time discretisation for the multigroup diffusion equation, as well as practical applications in neutronic codes (like neutron flux fluctuations), and coupling to thermal-hydraulics. Reduced Order Modelling and Factorization Techniques and macroscopic nuclear thermal-hydraulic modelling are part of the actions for this WP too. A practical approach for macroscopic thermo-mechanical modelling with the open-source code package OpenFOAM is also used.

During the past year, all asynchronous learning elements (handbooks, video lectures, quizzes) were developed. The synchronous learning elements are being finalised and are made of different components: short summarising lectures, group discussions, quizzes, coding assignments, computer code usage, and small exercises to comprehend the principles explained in the handbooks.

This WP is in close relation with WP4 and WP6, sharing most of the reactor models (steady state and transient scenarios), using the same computer codes for their analysis.

The activities in Work Package 6: Development of a course package on reactor transients, nuclear safety and uncertainty and sensitivity analysis have been focused on the finalisation of the handbook for the course on Safety Analysis and Uncertainty and Sensitivity Analysis methodology. The structure of the handbook offers an introduction to the ideas behind nuclear safety with an explanation of the most relevant types of accidents expected in LWRs (Light Water Reactors). The uncertainty and sensitivity analysis section is introduced with the fundamental statistical concepts needed to understand the methodologies, followed by an explanation of the practical steps: the gathering of uncertainty information, sampling procedures, code executions, and statistical treatment of the output uncertainty information. An overview of two of the most frequently used state-of-the-art system analysis codes ATHLET and TRACE-PARCS is also included with an explanation of the two main scenarios that will be used in the practical exercises. Short video lectures have been produced, together with the associated quizzes. The course page on the Learning Management System has been created. Work is on-going on the finalisation of the synchronous sessions, and more specifically the hands-on exercises.

In the last year, partners in Work Package 7: Development of a course package on radiation protection in a nuclear environment made progress on the development of educational materials (handbooks, webcasts, quizzes) with the lead of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. The course will put special emphasis on radiation shielding calculation methods, their advantages and challenges to help the participants to choose the proper one for a given problem they face during their professional career.

The course is highly recommended to everyone who plans to participate at the hands-on exercises at the training reactors, in order to learn the health physics basics and radiation protection regulations in place to ensure a safe working environment in a nuclear installation. The reactor exercises will also feature measurements related to radiation protection and shielding. Some of these measurements will be simulated during the course to be able to compare measurements and simulation, experience the importance of the modelling details and the achievable accuracy.

A teaser video has been produced to give a brief overview of the course content, which was published when the registration opened. The educational materials for self-paced, asynchronous learning will be available in the Learning Management System (LMS) of the project starting 27 February 2023, while the synchronous, hybrid course with calculation hands-on exercises will take place 27-31 March 2023. On site participants will have the opportunity to visit Budapest (Hungary), the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME) and the BME Training Reactor, which will be one of the facilities where a practical course with hands-on exercises will be offered in the framework of the GRE@T-PIONEeR project in June 2023. Two other training sessions are organised at the AKR-2 reactor at TUD, Dresden, Germany in Apeil 2023 and the CROCUS reactor at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland at the end of May 2023/beginning of June 2023. On site participants are advised to apply for travel grant to the ENEN2plus project (

We look forward to meeting you in this course in-person or online! You can register here.

Work Package 8: Promotion, dissemination and courses teaching is focused on communicating about the project, disseminating the results and will involve teaching the courses towards the end of the project. One of the main actions in the second year of the project was the preparation and launch of the communication campaign around the course offerings. Videos tailored to each course were prepared in collaboration with project partners to provide potential students with an overview of the course content. A social media strategy was then developed to promote each course individually, boost registration and foster engagement.

Ongoing communication and dissemination activities were also carried out over the  second year, including updating the project website and Zenodo page. To stay up to date, follow the project on social media and keep an eye on the website!

Follow us to find out more!
email (3)
Social icons_Plan de travail 1-01
Social icons-03