Since the 1990s, there have been suggestions in a number of experiments that at very short distances from nuclear reactors there are fewer neutrinos detected than expected, a possible sign of a new, unpredicted particle (a sterile neutrino) or an indication that existing models of neutrino emissions from nuclear reactors are incomplete. More recently, several experiments have detected a difference between the detected energy spectrum of neutrinos emitted from nuclear reactors and the spectrum expected from models, another possible sign of unexpected new physics.
PROSPECT was carefully designed to resolve these questions through precision measurements of the antineutrino flux and spectrum with a baseline of less than 10 m at the HFIR research reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In addition to discovering new physics, PROSPECT also demonstrates new methods of monitoring and safeguarding reactors against unauthorized or undesirable use.
For more information, visit the PROSPECT webpage at Yale University.