Experimental validation of analytic formulas for the statistical uncertainty in the Feynman-alpha method Academic Article uri icon


  • Noise experiments, and the Feynman- α method in particular, are considered a standard in-pile experiment, often used in zero power reactors in a sub critical configuration to estimate the reactivity level. In the Feynman- α method, the variance to mean ratio of event triggered neutron count is fitted on the so called Feynman-Y function, resulting with an experimental estimation of the α decay mode. In a recent study, analytic formulas for the expected statistical uncertainty in the Feynman- α method were derived, using the backward stochastic transport equation. The outline of the present study is to experimentally validate these analytic formulas. The formulas were implemented on 4 different signals, obtained from the MINERVE reactor at CEA Cadarache. For each of the four measurements, the signal was truncated in increasing measurement lengths (ranging from 1 to 60 min), in order to observe the functional behavior of the statistical error through time. Then, the measured statistical error was compared with the analytic estimation. Results indicate a very high correspondence between the expected statistical error and the measured one.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017