International Criticality Safety Benchmark Evaluation Project (ICSBEP)
ICSBEP Technical Review Group Meeting October 2020. Photo: OECD/NEA

The primary purpose of the International Criticality Safety Benchmark Evaluation Project (ICSBEP) is to compile critical and subcritical benchmark experiment data into a standardised format that allows criticality safety analysts to easily use the data to validate calculation tools and cross-section libraries.

ICSBEP work includes:

  • Identifying a comprehensive set of critical benchmark data and, to the extent possible, verify the data by reviewing original and subsequently revised documentation, and by talking with the experimenters or individuals who are familiar with the experiments or the experimental facility.
  • Evaluating the data and quantify overall uncertainties through various types of sensitivity analysis. (See: ICSBEP Guide to the Expression of Uncertainties)
  • Compiling the data into a standardised format. (See: ICSBEP Document Content and Format Guide)
  • Performing calculations of each experiment with standard criticality safety codes.
  • Formally documenting the work into a single source of verified benchmark critical data.

The work of the ICSBEP is documented in the International Handbook of Evaluated Criticality Safety Benchmark Experiments (ICSBEP Handbook). Cases within the ICSBEP Handbook have increased from 406 in 1995 to 5053 in 2020.

The ICSBEP Handbook is produced in electronic format (pdf files) where the experiments are grouped into evaluations and categorised by:

  • fissile media (plutonium, highly enriched uranium, intermediate and mixed enrichment uranium, low enriched uranium, uranium-233, mixed plutonium-uranium and special isotope systems)
  • physical form of the fissile material (metal, compound, solution and miscellaneous systems);
  • neutron energy range where the majority of the fissions occur (fast, intermediate, thermal and mixed spectra systems).

The Criticality Safety Benchmark Evaluation Project (CSBEP) was initiated in 1992 by the US Department of Energy under the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). In 1995, the CSBEP became an official activity of the NEA Nuclear Science Committee at which time the name was changed to the International Criticality Safety Benchmark Evaluation Project (ICSBEP).