Reactor antineutrino anomalies are a decade-long puzzle in neutrino physics. They are manifested by deviations of the order of a few percent between measurements and predictions. These deviations have been observed in the number of antineutrinos measured by more than a dozen experiments at nuclear reactors, and in the shape of the kinetic energy distributions by the seven most recent ones. They could have been the way to a new physics beyond the standard model, but the recent experiments, including the STEREO experiment carried by IRFU, have closed this door.
In a work just published in Physical Review Letter , a team of physicists from IRFU and the Laboratoire National Henri Becquerel of DRT have shown that these anomalies could come from biases in the measurements of fission electrons used as a reference for the prediction. They have developed a beta strength function model to reduce the biases in the calculation of the energy spectra of electrons from fission of fissile reactor nuclei. The two "anomalies" on the antineutrino flux and the "bump" at 5 MeV in the antineutrino energy spectrum are now reproduced by their model. This allows to propose an explanation to solve an enigma of more than 10 years.