In this first issue of the Journal of Neutron Research (JNR) in 2015 we lead with a paper, unusual for the journal but nevertheless of great interest to our community. It is written by two well-known neutron scattering authors who have researched the important topic of the history of nuclear fission to coincide with the 75th anniversary of its discovery. It is a topic which carries with it a personal story as a backdrop which is still relevant today, that of gender equality.
The journal has taken a further initiative and that is the archiving on the JNR website www.neutronresearch.com of the proceedings of the ICANS meetings, held at approximately 2-yearly intervals. ICANS is the International Collaboration on Advanced Neutron Sources and was set up in order to be better able to share the then emerging technology of spallation for the production of slow neutrons. The proceedings of such meetings have usually been published as laboratory reports which are frequently difficult to access. The proceedings contain a wealth of information on all aspects of spallation technology and its use. Having these papers available in the public domain will be of great value to the current generation of source and instrument builders. The work behind this is due to David Greaves and Maarten Fröhlich of IOS Press, the publishers of JNR, and I heartily thank them and the owners of IOS Press for their efforts. It has not been a simple matter to ensure that all copyright issue have been looked after and the preparation of content alone has taken a considerable amount of time.
Of course today the technology of spallation is taken for granted as sitting besides fission as an engine for the production of intense beams of neutrons as exemplified by the new spallation sources J-PARC and SNS. In addition ESS has begun its construction phase. Whilst things look bright on that front, the consequences of the Fukushima accident for the fission sources are reaching far and wide. The stress-testing of nuclear power plants and research reactors has extended to those organisations that fabricate fuel elements and process the spent fuel. The refitting of these facilities is costly and these costs are beginning to feed into the costs that sources must account for in order to finance their fuel cycles. Add to that the increase in insurance premiums being applied, and the rise in future decommissioning costs, and it becomes obvious that additional operating costs must be found or else sources will have pressure brought to bear on them to reduce their periods of operation or the number of instruments functioning. This is a real threat to the scientific output of neutron sources and the time is ripe for the user community to make its collective voice heard.