International Committee on the Future of Neutron Sources (ICFNS) - Mito

Mito Meeting

Johyo-Geibun Center, Mito, Ibaraki-ken, Japan
November 3 – 4, 2000

Meeting organized by the
IUPAP working group on the future of large scale facilities subgroup
“International Committee on the Future of Neutron Sources” (ICFNS)

Chairpersons of the meeting: Fritz Parak and Hiroshi Yasuoka

Initiatives of the IUPAP

The working Group on Facilities for Condensed Matter Physics (WGFCMP) was formed initially by a resolution of the IUPAP Council and Chairs in September 1998 and its charge was then broadened at the Council meeting in October 1999. The Working Group should spawn and oversee committees that should act to:

  1. promote international collaboration for planning, construction and exploitation of facilities for condensed matter. This will include the need for new sources and upgrades to existing sources, instrumentation requirements, availability access, and long range planning.
  2. to organize international meetings for exchange of information on future plans for regional facilities and formation of advice for joint studies and uses.
  3. to organize international workshops for the study of problems related to large facilities and to foster research and development on necessary technology.

The following persons were nominated as members of WGFCMP: Murray, Cherry A., Chair ( C10, Structure and Dynamics of Condensed Matter), Parak, Fritz G. Vice-Chair ( C6 Biological Physics ), Binder, Kurt (C3 Statistical Physics ), Godfrin, Henri ( C5, Low Temperature Physics ), Cardona, Manuel. (C8 Semiconductors ), Yasuoka, Hiroshi ( C9, Magnetism ), Moran Lopez, Jose Luis ( Vice President ), and Blume, Martin ( American Physical Society)

With respect to the future of neutron sources the IUPAP had the following activities:

  1. In march 1998 Burton Richter presented a report which represented the consensus views of IUPAP representatives and the chairs of the neutron scattering groups obtained at a meeting in Los Angeles on March 15, 1998.
  2. On behalf of the IUPAP 1999 Rudolf Klein organized a meeting on the future of neutron sources at the neutron conference in Budapest on September 1999.

The Mito meeting is an effort the WGFCMP to appoint an “International Committee on the Future of Neutron Sources (ICFNS)”, including members of IUPAP Commissions, representatives of regional user groups, appropriate labs, developing countries, and other involved organizations. A broad discussion with the representatives of the neutron community expected to answer the question, whether IUPAP should play an active role and whether a forum like ICFNS should be established.

Information on the present situation

G. Stirling reported on the work of OECD (Organisation Economic Co-operation Development). This report reviewed the general situation. The aims of the Neutron Source Working Group of OECD was: i) to predict neutron demand and supply on a 20 year time scale, ii) to propose a global model for the provision of neutrons in 20 years time and iii) to recommend how to get from here to there. OECD has published a Technical Report (1998): A twenty years forward look at neutron scattering facilities in OECD countries and Russia by D. Richter and T. Springer. One statement is that only 1/3 or even less of the neutron sources working in 1998 will be operating in 2017.(compare also: ms/index.htm)

The meeting demonstrated the strong organization of the user communities which were presented by D. Belanger (Neutron Scattering Society of America: NSSA), D. Richter (European Neutron Scattering Association: ENSA) and Y. Fujii ( Neutron Scattering Association of Japan: NSAJ). The NSAJ plans to organize an Asian/oceanic Neutron scattering Association in 2-3 years. More help is needed for neutron sources in Asia/oceanic region.

The situation of existing spallation sources was reviewed by R. Pynn (LANSCE), U. Steigenberger (ISIS) and S. Ikeda (KENS). At LANSCE, 7 neutron scattering spectrometers and 2 nuclear beam lines will be built in the next 3 years. The SPSS Accelerator Enhancement Project will provide 160kW of proton beam to Lujan Center. At ISIS, 600 experiments are performed every year on 20 neutron instruments. There is an ongoing and vigorous instrument development program.

The situation of the neutron reactors in service was reviewed by D. Dubbers (ILL Grenoble), G. Pepy (LLB Saclay) D. Richter (FRJ-2, Jülich), M. Steiner (HMI Berlin), J. Fernandez-Baca (ORNL, Oak Ridge), M. Rowe (NIST, Gaithersburg) and Y. Morii (JAERI, Tokai). Dubbers emphasized the importance of an update of the instruments and the neutron guides. This may bring a factor of 10 or even more in efficiency. Financial difficulties may affect the LLB in Saclay. The shutdown of FRJ-2 is planed for 2006. 15% of the capacity is used for isotope production. For HFIR there are upgrade projects till 2002. The NBSR reactor will be re-licensed through 2024.

The situation at the new reactor source FRMII at the Technical University Munich was explained by W. Petry. This is a high flux neutron source with neutron fluxes at the sample position comparable to ILL. FRMII is designed as a multi purpose reactor expecting 30% industrial applications and applied research, and 70% basic research. The 3rd nuclear license is still missing.

Overview: New developments – Planning Facilities

Fernandez-Baca reported that SNS at Oak Ridge will begin operation in 2006 ( Flux factor 12 to ISIS, peak thermal neutron flux factor 50 - 100 to ILL). It is hoped that a decision to build the ESS will be taken in 2003. At present within the project CONCERT the feasibility of a 25 MW proton accelerator which would serve different users among them ESS is studied.

Nagamiya reported on KEK and JAERI joint project, which will be a multipurpose facility. The final decision will be in Dec. 2000. The facility is optimized for neutron scattering (pulsed beam) but not as well for transmutation. Robinson reported that contracts have been signed for the construction of a new 20-MW reactor in Australia, to replace the existing 10-MW HIFAR reactor, and the new reactor is expected to commence operation with 8 neutron-beam instruments in 2005.

Discussion of the ICFNS initiative of IUPAP

The community of neutron users and the representatives of the neutron sources expressed some reservations to ICFNS under IUPAP. In Europe the neutron community decided not to join the physical societies because the majority of the scientists are not physicists. It is claimed that one should include chemists, biologists, and earth scientists in each organization. Several participants express their feeling that the ICFNS is maybe too narrow for all the users. The existing associations are strong in Europe and in America and also in Asia. One should not dissolve existing organizational structures.

However, there is an agreement that the neutron gap is real; the unforeseen closures of neutron sources have already created a new unfortunate situation needing action. A reaction to this development is necessary. Strong support of all neutron sources is necessary. ICFNS could start at the level of physics. In the next step a broader approach is necessary. The IUPAP could especially support the fields of condensed matter physics and biological physics. A report of an international organization like the IUPAP, may be helpful for the future of new neutron sources and could prevent an unjustified shutdown of existing reactors. In spite of the existence of strong local neutron scattering associations the IUPAP can help as an „umbrella“ including also users who do not come from the neutron scattering community (production of isotopes, medical applications of neutrons and etc.).

There was a great interest in a possible impact of an IUPAP report and the connections between IUPAP and national governments and UNO. This question needs further attention.

IUPAP should support the better use of presently under funded sources, which could be exploited better and also improve programs to educate young scientists particularly from Asian countries.

Most of the participants expressed the opinion that it is too early to constitute ICFNS formally. The aims and the responsibilities first have to be formulated more clearly. The relation to OECD has to be clarified to avoid parallel activities. The different user communities have to be strongly involved. The report of the Mito meeting should be sent to the user communities in order to get a feedback.

The participants agreed that another IUPAP meeting on the future of neutron sources should take place at the International Conference on Neutron Scattering, ICNS2001, 9. – 13 September 2001 in Munich.


  1. The presentations at this meeting and at the preceding meeting (The 1st International Symposium on Advanced Science Research (ASR2000) at JAERI (Tokai) have shown
    • that neutron scattering methods and neutron research in general are in widespread use throughout the world as a necessary and important part of the scientific infrastructure.
    • that these methods have unique power and may be even enlarged when used complementary to synchrotron - radiation and other advanced structural methods for the study of physical, chemical, biological, earth and engineering sciences.
  2. The meeting has shown that the basis of the OECD analysis of the need for new neutron sources is sound, but possibly too optimistic because unforeseen closures of prestigious sources (such as BNL(USA) and DR-3 (Denmark)) earlier than anticipated in the report by Richter and Springer. The „neutron gap" is real and the timely provision of new facilities a matter of concern. This means also that the closure of sources should not be accelerated and that new sources in an advanced state of planing or building should go into service as soon as possible. The infrastructure of some existing neutron sources may need to be upgraded to meet modern standards in order to avoid premature closure that could result from public concerns about the safety and environmental impact of neutron-producing facilities. Support of IUPAP/ICFNS may ensure smooth implementation of the excellent proposals for national and international facilities. These proposals are for new sources and the continuous improvements of both sources and instruments using newly available technology.
  3. The meeting identified the strong growth of Neutron Scattering Associations in Europe and USA and soon to be launched Asia-Oceanic Neutron Scattering Association. These overarching organization should be supported where possible by IUPAP in their role of
    • Organizing support for new sources, upgrading of existing sources and of instrumentation
    • Organizing workshops and supporting the user community development.
  4. These tasks could be done by jointly sponsored meetings and planning groups which should also include participation from other ICSU bodies such as the Neutron Scattering Commission of the International Union of Crystallography.

  5. The meeting identified current methods of international co-operation and sharing of Neutron sources access. Access to neutron sources becomes more difficult as the number of facilities decreases. The IUPAP policy of favoring an open access based on peer scientific review and not on nationality should be more widely applied, for instance by developing the international cooperation between the facilities.
  6. The contact persons of IUPAP to other international Organizations such as the International Union of Crystallography, the IUPAC, the IUPAB and other ICSU bodies should co-ordinate the IUPAP initiatives concerning the future of neutron sources with these organizations.

List of participants:

Belanger, Dave (USA), Cisneros, Carmen (Mexico), Clausen, Kurt (Germany), Dubbers, Dirk (France), Endoh, Yasuo (Japan), Fernandes-Baca, Jaime A. (USA), Fujii, Yasuhiko (Japan), Godfrin, Henri (France), Ikeda, Susumu (Japan), Kakurai, Kazuhisa (Japan), Katano, Susumu (Japan), Kjems, Jorgon (Denmark), Lander,Gerry (Germany), McEwen, Keith (UK), Morii, Yukio (Japan),Nagamiya, Shoji (Japan), Niimura, Nobuo (Japan), Parak, Fritz G. (Germany), Pepy, Gerard (France), Petry, Winfried (Germany), Pynn, Roger (USA), Richter, Dieter (Germany), Robinson, Robert A., (Australia), Rowe, John Michael (USA), Steigenberger, Uschi E. (UK), Steiner, Michel (Germany), Stirling, George (U.K.), White, John (Australia), Yasuoka, Hiroshi (Japan)