Applying approximate Bayesian computation to reduce uncertainty in multigroup 235-U cross-sections using ICSBEP experimental data

Michał Jędrzejczyk, Piotr Kopka, Basma Foad, Tomasz Kozłowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The multiplication factor (keff) and its uncertainty are critical design parameters in nuclear reactors. The keff uncertainty must be considered for operation, safety, and economic reasons. Consequently, reducing uncertainty in keff has been of interest to the nuclear industry for as long as nuclear reactors were designed. Two methods of reducing this uncertainty are in use – Generalized Linear Least Squares (GLLS) and A General Monte Carlo-Bayes Procedure for Improved Predictions of Integral Functions of Nuclear Data (MOCABA). Both methods have the ability to reduce the keff uncertainty by reducing uncertainty in cross-sections through the assimilation of measured critical systems’ or nuclear reactors’ operational data. The algorithms require means of simulating the experimental data and that the calibrated parameters are described by specific statistical distributions. GLLS is limited to linear models and multivariate normal prior and posterior, while MOCABA can use any (non-linear) model but is also limited to multivariate normal prior and posterior. This work implements a universal and rigorous algorithm called Sequential Monte Carlo – Approximate Bayesian Computation (SMC-ABC) for the same application. It is found that SMC-ABC, GLLS, and likely MOCABA give essentially the same results for the same problems. The paper also presents a reliable method for validating the results based on so-called “synthetic experiments”. Synthetic experiments are computationally generated data used in place of experiments. The method allows for verifying whether there is a risk of overfitting the calibrated parameters (cross-sections in case of this work) during the data assimilation. This novel method shows the potential of using SMC-ABC and other Bayesian calibration methods to generate improved general-purpose neutron cross-section libraries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112536
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Mechanical Engineering


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