Physics of neutron nuclear facilities

Medical Physics, Second Cycle
1 in 2 year
first or second
Hours per week – 1. or 2. semester:

Regular enrolement

Content (Syllabus outline)

Neutrons, nucleus and nuclear reactions. Phenomenological description of the nucleus, droplet and shell models. Nuclear reactions with neutrons - direct and via an intermediate nucleus (elastic and inelastic scattering, radiative capture, other reactions). Overview of cross sections for these reactions for important nuclides. Fission, phenomenological description, energy release, decay products and prompt neutrons. Prompt and delayed neutron spectrum. Overview of fission cross-sections for important nuclides.
Neutron transport in materials. Transport equation for neutrons, validity, usefulness, solving methods. Diffusion approximation to, validity, applicability, methods of solving. Monte-Carlo methods, applicability, limitations.
Neutron shields. Principles, typical materials, and execution. Activation of the shield material.
Multiplication of neutrons and the chain reaction. Principle, multiplication factor.
Nuclear reactor. Principle of operation and control of the chain reaction,technical description of a typical reactor. Types of nuclear reactors (fast and thermal, power plants and research reactors). Energy and spatial distributions of neutrons.
Sources of neutrons. Reactor as a neutron source. Accelerator with a spallation target. Neutrons from the alpha-n reaction. Fusion reactor as a source of neutrons.
Methods based on the irradiation with neutrons. Production of radioactive isotopes for medical applications (chemical preconditioning irradiation, separation, chemical-biological preparation). Neutron therapy with boron (BNCT) - principle, description of the typical radiation devices. Neutron radiography (principle, description of the device).
Nuclear facilities and sources of neutrons in Slovenia. Nuclear power plant, TRIGA research reactor, Ra-Be sources. Laws and regulations for operating nuclear facilities.


• Rosina, Jedrska fizika
• Bell-Glasstone, Nuclear Reactor Theory, Van Nostrand, New York, 1970
• IAEA tehnični dokumenti

Objectives and competences

Students learn about the basic laws of nuclear facilities where neutrons are generated and used (nuclear reactors, irradiation facilities for isotope production and medical treatment, neutron radiography).

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
Understanding the operation of neutron facilities (reactors, irradiation facilities for isotope production and medical treatment, neutron radiography).
Application of fundamental laws of physics in understanding the operation of neutron facilities.
A critical assessment of the theoretical predictions with the results of the measurements of neutron fluxes.
Transferable skills:
Ability to collect data, interpretation and evaluation of the results of measurements.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, seminar, practical excercises at the TRIGA reactor.


2 tests with problem solving, written exam (problem solving)
Oral exam (questions from lectures)
grading: 5 (fail), 6-10 (pass) (according to the Statute of UL)

Lecturer's references
  1. ŽEROVNIK, Gašper, CAPOTE, R., TRKOV, Andrej. On random sampling of correlated resonance parameters with large uncertainties. Nucl. instrum, methods phys res., Sect. A, Accel.. [Print ed.], 2013, vol. 723, str. 89-98.
  2. ŽEROVNIK, Gašper, TRKOV, Andrej, SMITH, Donald L., CAPOTE, R. Transformation of correlation coefcients between normal and lognormal distribution and implications for nuclear applications. Nucl. instrum, methods phys res., Sect. A, Accel.. [Print ed.], 2013, vol. 727, str. 33-39. P. Križan, Overview of particle identification techniques, Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A706 (2013) 48.
  3. JET EFDA Contributors, SNOJ, Luka, LENGAR, Igor, ČUFAR, Aljaž, SYME, B., TRKOV, Andrej. Calculations to support JET neutron yield calibration : Modeling of the JET remote handling system. Nucl. Eng. Des.. [Print ed.], 2013, vol. 261, str. 244-250.