As one of the tasks in Work Package 4 of the ENEEP project, a search for novel experimental education activities was performed, which resulted in a shortlist of new experiments for possible future implementation and integration in the activities offered by ENEEP. One of the identified new experiments – a Cherenkov radiation-based power meter – was successfully set up at the JSI TRIGA reactor in Ljubljana in the framework of a Master thesis and demonstrated for the first time on 13th April 2021 with the collaboration of a group of 2nd Bologna degree Nuclear Engineering students of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Ljubljana.
The experiment consisted of measurements of the intensity of Cherenkov radiation emanating from the reactor core using a silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) located in a light-tight channel and a RedPitaya board (https://www.redpitaya.com/), operated by a Python script on a laptop computer. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the students participated in the exercise remotely via Zoom. Their task was to evaluate the detector response linearity and perform a response calibration by measuring the signal at different constant reactor power levels, ranging from low power (several kW) to full power (250 kW). Subsequently, the students used the detector and the obtained calibration to determine the peak power and released energy in pulse operation mode, the peak power reaching well over 1 MW.
The demonstration was carried out successfully – the detector signal in both steady-state and pulse operation modes was well measurable. The experience gained, and the feedback received on the exercise will greatly assist in the implementation of this exercise and integration in the ENEEP platform offerings.