A comparison of uncertainty propagation techniques using NDaST - full, half or zero Monte Carlo?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • James Dyrda
  • Ian Hill
  • Luca Fiorito
  • Oscar Cabellos
  • Nicolas Soppera

Institutes & Expert groups

  • OECD NEA - Nuclear Energy Agency - France
  • OECD NEA NSC - Nuclear Energy Agency, ­Nuclear Science Committee : IGSC
  • UPM - Universidad Politécnica de Madrid - Spain
  • OECD NEA - Nuclear Energy Agency, Data Bank - France

Documents & links



Uncertainty propagation to keff using a Total Monte Carlo sampling process is commonly used to solve the issues associated with non-linear dependencies and non-Gaussian nuclear parameter distributions. We suggest that in general, keff sensitivities to nuclear data perturbations are not problematic, and that they remain linear over a large range; the same cannot be said definitively for nuclear data parameters and their impact on final cross-sections and distributions. Instead of running hundreds or thousands of neutronics calculations, we therefore investigate the possibility to take those many cross-section file samples and perform ‘cheap’ sensitivity perturbation calculations. This is efficiently possible with the NEA Nuclear Data Sensitivity Tool (NDaST) and this process we name the half Monte Carlo method (HMM). We demonstrate that this is indeed possible with a test example of JEZEBEL (PMF001) drawn from the ICSBEP handbook, comparing keff directly calculated with SERPENT to those predicted with NDaST. Furthermore, we show that one may retain the normal NDaST benefits; a deeper analysis of the resultant effects in terms of reaction and energy breakdown, without the normal computational burden of Monte Carlo (results within minutes, rather than days). Finally, we assess the rationality of using either full or HMMs, by also using the covariance data to do simple linear ‘sandwich formula’ type propagation of uncertainty onto the selected benchmarks. This allows us to draw some broad conclusions about the relative merits of selecting a technique with either full, half or zero degree of Monte Carlo simulation


Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalEPJ N - Nuclear Sciences and Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2018


  • Quantification

ID: 5325144