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Title: Enhancing Research Reactor Safeguards Through the Use of Mailbox Declarations

Abstract

There are historic examples in several States of research reactors being misused to produce undeclared nuclear material. However, misuse of a State’s research reactor has typically only been discovered after further investigation into the State’s non-compliance related to other undeclared activities. Light water research reactors are typically designed with sample irradiation ports, where the introduction of fertile material can illicitly produce fissile material. Additionally, some light water reactors continue to be fueled by highly enriched uranium, which is a more significant safeguards concern by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Heavy water and graphite reactors can be used for illicit plutonium production, which is of particular proliferation concern. Because research reactors are designed for flexible operations and small research reactors are less frequently inspected by the IAEA than other nuclear facilities (depending on power and fuel type, it could several years between inspections), the likelihood of timely detection by the IAEA of misuse of the research reactor is low. During a 2013 workshop on safeguarding research reactors, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom made recommendations to the IAEA on how safeguards could be strengthened for such facilities. One of the recommendations was to assess the use of “mailbox”more » declarations coupled with short notice random inspections or unannounced inspections by the IAEA at research reactors. An electronic mailbox declaration refers to the use of a secure information repository into which an operator submits operating reports. The near real time submittal of information enables the IAEA to better implement randomized short notice inspections. These mailboxes are not used for collecting and submitting State reports to the IAEA, but for collecting and transmitting operator data. The use of mailboxes, in conjunction with short notice random inspections, is in routine use for some other facility types. This paper assesses the potential for the practical application of mailbox declarations for various research reactor types and how the approach could be effectively used. Potential diversion scenarios are described and operator data records are discussed in connection to mailbox declarations, including discussion of how the data could indicate research reactor misuse.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2]
  1. Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Texas A & M Univ., College Station, TX (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant (Y-12), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1581136
Report Number(s):
IROS11649
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-NA0001942
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Institute of Nuclear Materials Management (INMM) 2019 Annual Meeting
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; safeguards, research reactor, electronic mailbox

Citation Formats

Milojevich, Allyn, Creasy, John, and Martinson, Sean. Enhancing Research Reactor Safeguards Through the Use of Mailbox Declarations. United States: N. p., 2019. Web.
Milojevich, Allyn, Creasy, John, & Martinson, Sean. Enhancing Research Reactor Safeguards Through the Use of Mailbox Declarations. United States.
Milojevich, Allyn, Creasy, John, and Martinson, Sean. Thu . "Enhancing Research Reactor Safeguards Through the Use of Mailbox Declarations". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1581136.
@article{osti_1581136,
title = {Enhancing Research Reactor Safeguards Through the Use of Mailbox Declarations},
author = {Milojevich, Allyn and Creasy, John and Martinson, Sean},
abstractNote = {There are historic examples in several States of research reactors being misused to produce undeclared nuclear material. However, misuse of a State’s research reactor has typically only been discovered after further investigation into the State’s non-compliance related to other undeclared activities. Light water research reactors are typically designed with sample irradiation ports, where the introduction of fertile material can illicitly produce fissile material. Additionally, some light water reactors continue to be fueled by highly enriched uranium, which is a more significant safeguards concern by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Heavy water and graphite reactors can be used for illicit plutonium production, which is of particular proliferation concern. Because research reactors are designed for flexible operations and small research reactors are less frequently inspected by the IAEA than other nuclear facilities (depending on power and fuel type, it could several years between inspections), the likelihood of timely detection by the IAEA of misuse of the research reactor is low. During a 2013 workshop on safeguarding research reactors, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom made recommendations to the IAEA on how safeguards could be strengthened for such facilities. One of the recommendations was to assess the use of “mailbox” declarations coupled with short notice random inspections or unannounced inspections by the IAEA at research reactors. An electronic mailbox declaration refers to the use of a secure information repository into which an operator submits operating reports. The near real time submittal of information enables the IAEA to better implement randomized short notice inspections. These mailboxes are not used for collecting and submitting State reports to the IAEA, but for collecting and transmitting operator data. The use of mailboxes, in conjunction with short notice random inspections, is in routine use for some other facility types. This paper assesses the potential for the practical application of mailbox declarations for various research reactor types and how the approach could be effectively used. Potential diversion scenarios are described and operator data records are discussed in connection to mailbox declarations, including discussion of how the data could indicate research reactor misuse.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {8}
}

Conference:
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