Luiz Leal, a researcher at IRSN's Reactor Physics Research and Safety Assessment Laboratory (LNR) was jointly  honored with the 2016 Eugene P. Wigner Reactor Physicist Award. The American Nuclear Society (ANS) presented the award to him on November 7 during the opening session of the society's winter meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It acknowledges Leal’s large body of research in measurement, evaluation and computer processing of nuclear data . Leal has directed programs dealing with differential nuclear data measurements and resonance parameters evaluations  for numerous important atomic nuclei (uranium 235, plutonium 239, etc.). His scientific research activities also cover techniques for evaluating uncertainty in differential and integral measurements to obtain accurate data for nuclear calculations.
The Eugene P. Wigner Award is in recognition of excellence that is presented annually by the Reactor Physics Division of the ANS to scientists whose work has made an exceptional contribution to reactor physics research. It has been awarded to outstanding physicists including Jules Horowitz. It is named for the theoretical physicist who received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1963 for his contribution on the structure of the atomic nucleus and the nature of elementary particles.
 Mark L. Williams, researcher in the Reactors and Nuclear Systems Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, also received the award.
 In nuclear data, there are cross-sections, which correspond to the supposed surface of interaction which characterizes the probability of an interaction between a particle or incident radiation and a target particle. Expressed in m² or Barn (1 b = 10-28 m²), it is used to evaluate the number of interactions between a flow of particles and a system of target nuclei.
 Cross sections vary greatly depending on the energy of the neutron that interacts with the nucleus. The probability of an interaction between an incident neutron and a target nucleus is very high when the energy of the neutron corresponds to the excitation energy of the target nucleus. This is why cross sections have resonances. An accurate description of resonances is essential for accurate nuclear calculations.