Training reactor VR-1

Education & Training

The reactor is principally used for training of students from technological universities. Training is focused on areas such as reactor physics, neutronics, dosimetry, nuclear safety and I&C systems. Teaching blocks focusing on the environmental protection are prepared especially for students of natural science and pedagogy. The Reactor, as a specialized training facility of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, is open not only to students of the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering, but also to students of other universities in the Czech Republic.

Depending on the curriculum and orientation of individual faculties, the training is performed in the regular weekly schedule or in the form of batch courses two to five days long. The specific content of the courses is compiled according to the requirements of the teachers from various faculties.

Students from Department of nuclear reactors at the reactor

Currently, over 25 experiments are carried out at the reactor. The most frequent experiments are the following:

  • basics of neutron detection using gas detectors,
  • determination of gas detectors dead time,
  • analysis of neutron detectors properties for reactor I&C ,
  • measurement of delayed neutrons,
  • determination of neutron flux density distribution by tiny gas detectors,
  • determination of neutron flux density distribution by activation detectors ( Au foils, Cu wires),
  • reactivity measurements (e. g., Rod Drop, Source Jerk, Positive Period),
  • control rods calibration by Inverse Count Rate,
  • analysis of various materials impacts on reactivity,
  • criticality approach (critical experiment),
  • criticality approach at power reactors,
  • study of nuclear reactor dynamics,
  • start-up, controlling and operation of nuclear reactor,
  • analysis of simulated bubble boiling impact on reactivity,
  • short-time instrumental neutron activation analysis.

The less frequent, specialized experiments aiming at selected analytical methods for the environment protection, the accelerator driven systems or extended experimental courses of digital control systems are the following:

  • reactivity measurement by Source Multiplication method,
  • control rods calibration by Mutual Calibration method,
  • study of subcritical multiplying system with external neutron source,
  • neutron flux density measurement by Campbell's Method,
  • neutron flux density measurement by compensated ionizing chamber,
  • analysis of neutron detection system non-linearity,
  • environmental biomonitoring,
  • Iodine and Bromine measurement in large samples of thyroid gland,
  • determination of fissile isotopes by delayed neutrons measurement,
  • fission products identification in the environment,
  • high resolution semiconductor gammaspectroscopy,
  • preparation and study of neutron sources (gamma, n),
  • surface decontamination training,
  • temperature reactivity effects of reactor core,
  • thermal-hydraulic characteristics of low power reactors,
  • neutronic characteristics of reactor transients,
  • application of thermoluminescent dosimetry in reactor technology,
  • scintillation and semiconductor gamma-spectrometry for neutron activation analysis.

Most of the experiments are available in three levels: demonstration, standard, and extended. The demonstration level is intended for basic understanding of physical phenomenon, which is applied during the experiment and students are rather passive observers. In the standard level, students are already actively participating in the experiment, and independently evaluating acquired data. The extended level is designed for in-depth study of the issue and requires a deeper theoretical knowledge of students and their active participation in the preparation of measurements, during the experiment and interpretation of acquired values. A chosen phenomenon or process is often analysed using several different approaches or conditions. For example, measurement of delayed neutrons is carried out using a sample of EK-10 fuel element in precisely defined irradiation and measuring conditions. In the extended level, especially for FNSPE students, the measurement is, in addition, carried out with the sample of uranium ore (pitchblende) and with depleted uranium foils. It shows the possibility of fissile isotopes identification in "natural specimens". Textbooks, methodological instructions, functional diagrams, forms for measured values, etc., are available for all frequently performed experimental tasks.

In most universities in the Czech Republic the number of curricula subjects increased in the nineties, while the number of teaching hours remained the same. This brought about a change in our organization of experiments.The total number of experiments has remained the same, while the time of measurements has been reduced, so that related and the follow-up experiments were merged into 2.5 to 3 hour blocks. Comprehensive courses are then compiled from these blocks.

© DNR FNSPE CTU in Prague, 2016