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Title: Delayed signatures of underground nuclear explosions

Abstract

Radionuclide signals from underground nuclear explosions (UNEs) are strongly influenced by the surrounding hydrogeologic regime. One effect of containment is delay of detonation-produced radioxenon reaching the surface as well as lengthening of its period of detectability compared to uncontained explosions. Using a field-scale tracer experiment, we evaluate important transport properties of a former UNE site. Here, we observe the character of signals at the surface due to the migration of gases from the post-detonation chimney under realistic transport conditions. Background radon signals are found to be highly responsive to cavity pressurization suggesting that large local radon anomalies may be an indicator of a clandestine UNE. Computer simulations, using transport properties obtained from the experiment, track radioxenon isotopes in the chimney and their migration to the surface. They show that the chimney surrounded by a fractured containment regime behaves as a leaky chemical reactor regarding its effect on isotopic evolution introducing a dependence on nuclear yield not previously considered. This evolutionary model for radioxenon isotopes is validated by atmospheric observations of radioxenon from a 2013 UNE in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). In conclusion, our model produces results similar to isotopic observations with nuclear yields being comparable to seismicmore » estimates.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [2]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  2. National Security Technologies, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1259513
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1474358
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-679542
Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322; srep23032
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC52-07NA27344
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; Energy - Coal, lignite, and peat, Nuclear science and engineering - Nuclear disarmament, safeguards, and physical protection, Geosciences, Military science - Nuclear weapons and effects, Energy - Storage

Citation Formats

Carrigan, Charles R., Sun, Yunwei, Hunter, Steven L., Ruddle, David G., Wagoner, Jeffrey L., Myers, Katherine B. L., Emer, Dudley F., Drellack, Sigmund L., and Chipman, Veraun D. Delayed signatures of underground nuclear explosions. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1038/srep23032.
Carrigan, Charles R., Sun, Yunwei, Hunter, Steven L., Ruddle, David G., Wagoner, Jeffrey L., Myers, Katherine B. L., Emer, Dudley F., Drellack, Sigmund L., & Chipman, Veraun D. Delayed signatures of underground nuclear explosions. United States. doi:10.1038/srep23032.
Carrigan, Charles R., Sun, Yunwei, Hunter, Steven L., Ruddle, David G., Wagoner, Jeffrey L., Myers, Katherine B. L., Emer, Dudley F., Drellack, Sigmund L., and Chipman, Veraun D. Wed . "Delayed signatures of underground nuclear explosions". United States. doi:10.1038/srep23032. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1259513.
@article{osti_1259513,
title = {Delayed signatures of underground nuclear explosions},
author = {Carrigan, Charles R. and Sun, Yunwei and Hunter, Steven L. and Ruddle, David G. and Wagoner, Jeffrey L. and Myers, Katherine B. L. and Emer, Dudley F. and Drellack, Sigmund L. and Chipman, Veraun D.},
abstractNote = {Radionuclide signals from underground nuclear explosions (UNEs) are strongly influenced by the surrounding hydrogeologic regime. One effect of containment is delay of detonation-produced radioxenon reaching the surface as well as lengthening of its period of detectability compared to uncontained explosions. Using a field-scale tracer experiment, we evaluate important transport properties of a former UNE site. Here, we observe the character of signals at the surface due to the migration of gases from the post-detonation chimney under realistic transport conditions. Background radon signals are found to be highly responsive to cavity pressurization suggesting that large local radon anomalies may be an indicator of a clandestine UNE. Computer simulations, using transport properties obtained from the experiment, track radioxenon isotopes in the chimney and their migration to the surface. They show that the chimney surrounded by a fractured containment regime behaves as a leaky chemical reactor regarding its effect on isotopic evolution introducing a dependence on nuclear yield not previously considered. This evolutionary model for radioxenon isotopes is validated by atmospheric observations of radioxenon from a 2013 UNE in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). In conclusion, our model produces results similar to isotopic observations with nuclear yields being comparable to seismic estimates.},
doi = {10.1038/srep23032},
journal = {Scientific Reports},
number = ,
volume = 6,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {3}
}

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