skip to main content


Title: Active neutron and gamma-ray imaging of highly enriched uranium for treaty verification

The detection and characterization of highly enriched uranium (HEU) presents a large challenge in the non-proliferation field. HEU has a low neutron emission rate and most gamma rays are low energy and easily shielded. To address this challenge, an instrument known as the dual-particle imager (DPI) was used with a portable deuterium-tritium (DT) neutron generator to detect neutrons and gamma rays from induced fission in HEU. We evaluated system response using a 13.7-kg HEU sphere in several configurations with no moderation, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) moderation, and tungsten moderation. A hollow tungsten sphere was interrogated to evaluate the response to a possible hoax item. First, localization capabilities were demonstrated by reconstructing neutron and gamma-ray images. Once localized, additional properties such as fast neutron energy spectra and time-dependent neutron count rates were attributed to the items. For the interrogated configurations containing HEU, the reconstructed neutron spectra resembled Watt spectra, which gave confidence that the interrogated items were undergoing induced fission. The time-dependent neutron count rate was also compared for each configuration and shown to be dependent on the neutron multiplication of the item. This result showed that the DPI is a viable tool for localizing and confirming fissile mass and multiplication.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States). Dept. of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
NA0002534; NE0000324
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA); USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program; USDOE NA Office of Nonproliferation and Verification Research and Development (NA-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; Applied physics; Characterization and analytical techniques; Imaging techniques
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1454793