The JRC is the largest provider of neutron data in the European Union. The data result from measurements at its two large-scale particle accelerators, and is used for nuclear safety and security in nuclear energy and for nuclear science applications. The main users of this nuclear data are European Union member state organisations and international partners of the EURATOM program, in particular European safety authorities, the nuclear industry, the nuclear research community, the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency - IAEA. The work program is defined taking account of the Treaty for the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM), the Research and Training Programme of EURATOM, the European Commission's Juncker priorities, the 2030 strategy of the Joint Research Centre and the strategy of JRC Directorate G Nuclear Safety and Security. A strong emphasis is placed on collaboration with EU member states, the OECD NEA and the IAEA for the definition and implementation of specific measurement actions.
Interaction of neutrons with matter is of great importance when evaluating the nuclear safety and risks. Due to the wide spread of use of neutrons and the cross cutting nature of nuclear data the range of applications is wide and includes the operation of nuclear power plants, nuclear waste management, new concepts of nuclear power production and waste minimization, radiation shielding, nuclear fusion, nuclear medicine, materials analysis, geological exploration, (nuclear) security and basic science.
Databases of neutron-induced reaction cross sections are maintained by the Nuclear Enegry Agency (NEA) of the Irganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the IAEA Nuclear Data Section. The NEA databank maintains a high-priority request list of the most important nuclear data requirements. In particular, the Joint Evaluated Fission and Fusion (JEFF) project of evaluated nuclear data maintains a comprehensive database for routine applications in various areas of science and technology. JEFF through the OECD-NEA provides nuclear data to end-users in a standardised manner allowing wide-spread use. The JRC nuclear measurement programme participates actively to improvements of the JEFF library as it constitutes an important mechanism for Knowledge Management towards nuclear energy applications. For knowledge management in the wider field of nuclear science application the JRC works closely with another focal point for nuclear data dissemination – the IAEA Nuclear Data Section .
The JRC makes invaluable contributions to these databases through measurements of neutron cross-sections of the relevant nuclei. The measurements are carried out using specialised infrastructure. The JRC operates a 150 MeV linear electron accelerator GELINA and a 3.5 MV light-ion Tandem accelerator (MONNET). The JRC's two accelerators are complementary in their performance and are among the best such installations in the world. By reducing the uncertainty in neutron cross-section data, the JRC's data ultimately lead to increased safety of the current and future plants.
Via the transnational access programme EUFRAT, JRC offers external researchers from the EU Member States, candidate countries (on the conditions established in the relevant agreement or decision) and countries associated to the Euratom Research Programme experimental possibilities at its nuclear facilities.