Validation of neutronic parameters for lead-cooled systems, by integral and local experiments, became of primary interest with advances in ALFRED lead cooled reactor demonstrator design. Notably, aiming at advancing the core design from the conceptual to the basic stage, the assessment of uncertainties coming from numerical simulation, with respect to real experiments, was of paramount importance to support the claims of outstanding safety demonstration meant for ALFRED. Among the required evidences, the assessment of the spatial distribution of the neutron flux and power in fuel pins required conceiving ad-hoc experiments, and disposing of state-of-the-art post-irradiation examination capabilities. For all these reasons, these experiments were one of the main focuses of the collaboration between the Research Centre Rez and ENEA. This paper presents the conception phase of the test and discusses some of the main results of the first phase of the experimental campaign, dealing with neutrons propagation, collected during its execution at the LR-0 research reactor (hence before the post-irradiation examination of the experimental pins placed in the lead test rig). The experimental work involved at first neutron spectrum measurements in the energy range from 0.1 to 10 MeV. Additionally, measurement of basic neutronic parameters of lead were performed, such as its reactivity worth, its effect on the neutron spectrum and its slowing-down properties. The comparison of calculations and experimental results shows good agreement. In case of calculation in benchmark model with different nuclear data libraries, the criticality is systematically over-predicted by approximately 150 pcm, which is, however, in the 1σ of the uncertainty interval. Neutron spectrum measurement shows only slight variations being around 10% most of the time. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.