NUCLEONICA: A nuclear science portal
J. Magill1, J. Galy1, R. Dreher1,
D. Hamilton1, M. Tufan1, C. Normand1,
A. Schwenk-Ferrero2, H. W. Wiese2
1 European Commission, DG Joint Research
Centre, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Postfach 2340, 76125
2 Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe Technik und Umwelt, Postfach
3640, 76021 Karlsruhe, Germany
Abstract. NUCLEONICA is a
new nuclear science web portal from the European Commission’s
Joint Research Centre. The portal provides a customisable, integrated
environment and collaboration platform for the nuclear sciences
using the latest internet “Web 2.0” dynamic technology.
NUCLEONICA is aimed at professionals, academics and students
working with radionuclides in fields as diverse as the life
sciences (e.g., biology, medicine, agriculture), the earth sciences
(geology, meteorology, environmental science) and the more traditional
disciplines such as nuclear power, health physics and radiation
protection, nuclear and radio-chemistry, and astrophysics. It
is also used as a knowledge management tool to preserve nuclear
knowledge built up over many decades by creating modern web-based
versions of so-called legacy computer codes.
Due to a general lack of interest in nuclear
power over many years, particularly in Europe, there has been
a gradual decline in the nuclear skills base. The nuclear field
has become very much a “grey-haired profession” with
an ageing population of nuclear professionals. Today, as a result
of recent developments on issues such as energy security and protection
of the environmental, we are witnessing a resurgence of interest
in nuclear power. In order to support this development we will
need a nuclear skills renaissance in education, training, and
knowledge management in the nuclear field.
There is also large range of “non-power”
applications of radioisotopes and radiation in a variety of diverse
fields such as medicine (e.g. cancer therapy), agriculture (e.g.
pest population control), food irradiation (e.g. to increase shelf-life)
and in industry (e.g. tracers, radiography, gauging, radiation
processing, etc.), where such nuclear skills are also required.
To support this renaissance, we have developed
a nuclear skills "toolbox" using the latest internet
technology. This toolbox can be used for daily activities by experts,
teachers, postgraduates and students of nuclear science. The nuclear
skills toolbox proposed above takes the form of a Nuclear Science
Web Applications Portal: NUCLEONICA  to encompass the knowledge
of generations of nuclear scientists (in the form of databases,
software applications, etc.) and make this available in a modern,
user-friendly way which is fast, accurate and cost effective using
the latest internet technology. In particular NUCLEONICA consists
of an integrated environment and collaboration platform through
the internet (databases, software applications, training courses)
providing a one-stop, user friendly, fast and accurate nuclear
science information source to allowe experts and non-experts alike
to concentrate on scientific results rather than tedious background
Fig.1. The NUCLEONICA web portal showing access
to the Application, Data, and Knowledge Centres. NUCLEONICA will
keep track of user activities by customising (remembering and
storing) these in a Personalized Desktop.
2. NUCLEONICA Innovative Features
NUCLEONICA makes use of cutting-edge internet
offers security enhanced “software as a service” (SaaS)
on the web rather than software on a PC thus avoiding problems
of software licensing, installation, updates etc. The web applications
are browser and operating system independent and can be accessed
with Internet Explorer, Mozilla-based browsers (Mozilla, Firefox,
Netscape) and a variety of other browsers such as Opera, Safari,
etc. Another Web 2.0 feature is the Personalised Desktop with
detailed user rights configurable via administration menu. A Mobile
Device Portal is also available for a variety of mobile devices.
NUCLEONICA applications are designed to be very
user friendly, intuitive, and require a minimum of learning time.
These powerful applications, which form the “backbone”
of the nuclear science toolbox, can be used by professionals and
students for everyday calculations. For advanced users, who prefer
a more “hands on” approach, NUCLEONICA provides this
with its advanced scripting interface which gives the user a powerful
programming interface. The data used in the calculations are taken
from international datafiles (see fig. 2) and presented in the
form of user-friendly databases with fast and powerful search
Computer codes which have taken many man-years
of development (e.g. legacy software) and have been written in
a variety of programming languages will run on the NUCLEONICA
web-server (as dynamic linked libraries, DLLs). The user can input
data to these applications with the use of a web browser and the
use of active server pages (ASPs). The information (output) is
returned to the user also in the form of ASPs. The user does not
“see” or need to worry about the language in which
the application has been written. This allows an extremely user-friendly
approach to obtaining information and solutions with almost no
learning time for the underlying application. An example of such
a development is webKORIGEN for nuclear fuel depletion and decay
calculations based on KORIGEN . The KORIGEN code, developed
in the Karlsruhe Research Centre, is a stand alone package which
serves to calculate the fuel depletion, burn-up and decay. KORIGEN,
originating from the ORNL ORIGEN code, is used in the German nuclear
industry and by German licensing authorities to determine the
integral characteristics of spent nuclear fuel as nuclide compositions,
radioactivities, decay heat, radiation sources and radiotoxicities.
The KORIGEN supervising staff at FzK together with the NUCLEONICA
developers at ITU created a web-based version of KORIGEN called
webKORIGEN – for use in NUCLEONICA. In order to facilitate
the input preparation, preprocessing, running, post-processing
and fast graphical output generation for a set of standardized
KORIGEN solved problems, webKORIGEN is trimmed to three major
classes of nuclear plants: Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR), Boiling
Water Reactors (BWR), and the European Fast Reactor (EFR) (a future
extension to current industrial technology).
Extensive use is made of “wiki” technology
 in the NUCLEONICA knowledge centre for online Help, Articles,
Weblinks etc. This is discussed in more detail in section 5. News
aggregation services, in which web-crawlers are used to "crawl"
newspapers and deliver news to a web browser, are attracting considerable
attention. These are computer generated news pages based on the
use of web crawler technology. Web crawlers are used to search
thousands of news websites to look for information on a particular
subject. NUCLEONICA’s web crawlers search the internet for
nuclear science news. This may be of a political nature through
to finding the latest conferences on nuclear science. These services
are based on XML and RSS feeds using JRC web-crawler technology.
3. NUCLEONICA Portal
NUCLEONICA offers the following main features:
Application Centre: Application
modules (decay engine, dosimetry and shielding, fission yields,
range & stopping power, reactor irradiation, transport and
packaging, etc.) with publication quality graphics. An advanced
scripting language is available for user defined calculations
and batch processing.
Data Centre: Online interactive
nuclide charts, reference data and searchable databases for internationally
evaluated nuclear data and library creation software
Knowledge Centre: Extensive
use is made of "wiki" technology in the NUCLEONICA knowledge
centre for online Help, Articles, Weblinks, Discussion groups,
etc. The ease of operation makes the NucleonicaWiki an effective
tool for changing or updating content - this allows the portal
to grow organically and provide a powerful nuclear science collaboration
platform for its users. The nuclear news aggregation services,
based on XML and RSS feeds using JRC web-crawler technology, provide
latest news and information on nuclear issues.
Personalised Desktop: NUCLEONICA
will keep track of your recent activities by "remembering"
and storing these in a Personalized Desktop The key advantages
for the users of NUCLEONICA can be summarised as follows:
Manage all your data in a single browser-based
system: The web applications are browser and operating system
independent and can be accessed with Internet Explorer, Mozilla-based
browsers (Mozilla, Firefox, Netscape) and a variety of other
browsers such as Opera, Safari, etc.
Don't waste time writing and testing programs:
NUCLEONICA provides you with user friendly, reliable, and
fast modules (for decay, dosimetry & shielding, range
and stopping power, transport and packaging, reactor irradiation
Improve the quality of your work: avoid
the tedious task of searching for nuclear data. NUCLEONICA
uses the most recently evaluated nuclear data from international
datafiles (JEFF3.1, 8th Table of the Isotopes, ICRP72, etc.).
Publication quality scientific graphs: at
any time from any location. NUCLEONICA web driven graphics
package is easy to use and delivers publication quality graphs
in a variety of formats (GIF, JPG, PNG, EPS, EMF, PDF, SVG).
Keep informed on nuclear developments: NUCLEONICA
web crawlers scan hundreds of websites every few minutes to
bring you the latest nuclear news.
Keep track of your recent activities: NUCLEONICA
will "remember" your recent activities and store
these in a Personalized Desktop with detailed user preferences.
Provides the opportunity to introduce and
share your expertise through our NucleonicaWiki - a collaborative
authoring tool in nuclear science
Assistance in preparing a lecture or a training course: NUCLEONICA
is an ideal source of information, articles, weblinks, graphics,
4. NUCLEONICA Database
The NUCLEONICA database is based on the Joint
Evaluated Fission and Fusion (JEFF3.1) radioactive decay datafile
 which contains decay data on 3852 nuclides in ground and isomeric
states. The relational nature of the NUCLEONICA database allows
for fast searching and data retrieval in comparison to the non-relational
JEFF3.1 Datafile. Moreover the NUCLEONICA database contains supplementary
information on approximately 93 additional nuclides and their
half-lives which are not listed in JEFF3.1 but are present in
NUBASE ´03 , extending the total number of nuclides (ground
and isomeric states) to 3947. In addition, NUBASE ´03 data
on the atomic weights, binding energies, mass excesses, and abundances
are included in the Nucleonica database (in the "materials"
Fig.2. Structure of the NUCLEONICA database.
To support the nuclear science applications in
Nucleonica, the database is further complemented by a variety
of data supplied by various sources:
spectral data (energies, emission probabilities
etc.) from JEFF3.1. In addition, spectral data from the 8th
table of isotopes  can be selected for comparison and for
library creation for gamma spectroscopy.
photon mass attenuation coefficients and
the mass energy-absorption coefficients from the National
Institute of Standards and Technology .
build-up factors, to model the scattering
effects in the shield material for the dosimetry module which
have been taken from .
prompt gamma ray activation data  for
thermal neutron activation analysis.
fission yield data from the main international
datafiles: JEF2.2, JEFF3.1 , JENDL-3.2 , and ENDF/B-VI
integral cross section data from JEF Report
14  which contains averaged neutron cross-sections from
international datafiles JEF-2.2, ENDF/B-VI, JENDL-3.2, BROND-2,
effective dose coefficients for ingestion
and inhalation, e(50), have been taken from the International
Commission for Radiological Protection compilation .
the A1 and A2 activity and activity exemption
limits for packaging and transportation .
properties of the elements  (densities,
melting points, boiling points etc.).
tables of physical constants and conversation
miscellaneous tables to manage user data.
5. NUCLEONICA Wiki
The NucleonicaWiki  allows the development
team to add, remove, edit and change content on the portal using
wiki technology - an approach which is extremely flexible. The
NUCLEONICA administrators can determine which parts of the portal
can be updated and by whom. Certain parts of the portal will only
be accessible to the administrators. Wikis are not only restricted
to the online manual but can be used for adding articles and links,
discussions groups etc. This will allow NUCLEONICA to grow organically
and provide a powerful nuclear science collaboration platform
for its users.
Fig.3. The NucleonicaWiki: Wiki-based online user
6. NUCLEONICA training courses & e-learning
The web supported training courses will be based
on the use of “Moodle” - an open source e-learning
platform specially designed to create online courses with opportunities
for rich interaction.
The courses introduce the basic concepts of nuclear
science and technology and are suitable for participants from
the nuclear industry, nuclear research organizations, universities,
regulatory authorities and nuclear medicine institutes. Core topics
range from the history of radioactivity, nuclide charts, the Karlsruhe
nuclide chart , radiation protection and health physics through
to the storage and transportation of radioactive materials. Recent
exciting developments in nuclear science are highlighted in a
series of special topics covering nuclear forensic science / illicit
trafficking, nuclear science with high intensity lasers, environmental
radioactivity, radiation hormesis and the LNT hypothesis, etc.
Lectures are be followed by a series of “hands-on”
case studies based on the use of the Nuclides.net / NUCLEONICA
web-based applications to give the user direct experience in the
Fig.4. The NUCLEONICA e-learning platform blends
internet technology with traditional teaching methods.
The NUCLEONICA web site: www.nucleonica.net
KORIGEN see: U. Fischer and H. Wiese, ORNL-tr-5043, 1983
also KfK 3014. For webKORIGEN in NUCLEONICA see: www.nucleonica.net:81/wiki/index.php/Help:WebKORIGEN
NucleonicaWiki: see www.nucleonica.net:81/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
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