Sensitivity of power spectral density techniques to numerical parameters in analyzing neutron noise experiments

E. Gilad, B. Geslot, P. Blaise, C. Dubi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Power spectral density (PSD) methods are well-known and widely used for the analysis of neutron noise experiments and obtaining the reactor's integral kinetic parameters, i.e., the effective delayed neutron fraction βeff and the prompt neutron generation time Λ. Many uncertainties are usually associated with PSD methods, e.g., statistical fluctuations in the neutron flux, power drifts, uncertainties in the Diven factor, the integral fission rate, and in the reactivity value. However, the uncertainty associated with the numerical parameters used in the power spectrum calculation procedure is hardly discussed in the literature and generally overlooked. The aim of this paper is to study the uncertainties in the kinetic parameters of a reactor core, obtained by PSD methods, which are associated with the numerical parameters of the method. A comprehensive estimation of the kinetic parameters, including all other uncertainties, is not pursued. In this paper, PSD methods are implemented to analyze critical and subcritical configurations of the MINERVE zero power reactor in order to measure its integral kinetic parameters βeff and Λ. Both cross and auto power spectral densities are calculated and the kinetic parameters are obtained via Lorentzian curve fitting over the calculated PSD. The sensitivity of the obtained kinetic parameters to the choice of numerical parameters used for spectrum calculations is studied and found to be significant with respect to other uncertainties. A novel methodology is proposed for analyzing the kinetic parameters’ sensitivity to the PSD calculations and for quantifying the associated uncertainties.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)288-298
Number of pages11
JournalProgress in Nuclear Energy
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Integral kinetic parameters
  • Noise techniques
  • Power spectral density
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Spectrum calculations

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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