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Title: Employing antineutrino detectors to safeguard future nuclear reactors from diversions

Abstract

The Non-Proliferation Treaty and other non-proliferation agreements are in place worldwide to ensure that nuclear material and facilities are used only for peaceful purposes. Antineutrino detectors, sensitive to reactor power and fuel changes, can complement the tools already at the disposal of international agencies to safeguard nuclear facilities and to verify the States' compliance with the agreements. Recent advancement in these detectors has made it possible to leverage them to reduce the likelihood of an undetected diversion of irradiated nuclear material. We study the sensitivity of antineutrino monitors to fuel divergence from two reactor types: a traditional light-water reactor and an advanced sodium-cooled reactor design, a likely candidate for future deployment. The analysis demonstrates that a variety of potential diversion scenarios can be detected by such a system. We outline recent developments in monitoring capabilities and discuss their potential security implications to the international community.

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]
  1. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States); Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States); Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
  3. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE); USNRC
OSTI Identifier:
1634098
Report Number(s):
INL/JOU-18-52308-Rev001
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC07-05ID14517; NRC-HQ-84-14-G-0058
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; Antineutrino monitoring; reactor diversion; nonproliferation; safeguards; energy policy; nuclear fusion and fission

Citation Formats

Stewart, Christopher, Abou-Jaoude, Abdalla, and Erickson, Anna. Employing antineutrino detectors to safeguard future nuclear reactors from diversions. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11434-z.
Stewart, Christopher, Abou-Jaoude, Abdalla, & Erickson, Anna. Employing antineutrino detectors to safeguard future nuclear reactors from diversions. United States. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11434-z
Stewart, Christopher, Abou-Jaoude, Abdalla, and Erickson, Anna. Tue . "Employing antineutrino detectors to safeguard future nuclear reactors from diversions". United States. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11434-z. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1634098.
@article{osti_1634098,
title = {Employing antineutrino detectors to safeguard future nuclear reactors from diversions},
author = {Stewart, Christopher and Abou-Jaoude, Abdalla and Erickson, Anna},
abstractNote = {The Non-Proliferation Treaty and other non-proliferation agreements are in place worldwide to ensure that nuclear material and facilities are used only for peaceful purposes. Antineutrino detectors, sensitive to reactor power and fuel changes, can complement the tools already at the disposal of international agencies to safeguard nuclear facilities and to verify the States' compliance with the agreements. Recent advancement in these detectors has made it possible to leverage them to reduce the likelihood of an undetected diversion of irradiated nuclear material. We study the sensitivity of antineutrino monitors to fuel divergence from two reactor types: a traditional light-water reactor and an advanced sodium-cooled reactor design, a likely candidate for future deployment. The analysis demonstrates that a variety of potential diversion scenarios can be detected by such a system. We outline recent developments in monitoring capabilities and discuss their potential security implications to the international community.},
doi = {10.1038/s41467-019-11434-z},
journal = {Nature Communications},
number = 1,
volume = 10,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {8}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Figures / Tables:

Figure 1 Figure 1: Principle of reactor operation verification with antineutrino monitors. The process for verifying reactor inventory integrity with antineutrinos bears similarities to biometric scans such as retinal identity verification. In retinal scans (top row), an infrared beam traverses a person’s retina (a) and the blood vessels, distinguishable by their highermore » light absorption (b) relative to other tissue, are mapped. The mapping is extracted and compared to a copy stored in a database (c), and if the two match, the person’s identity is verified. Similarly, a nuclear reactor continuously emits antineutrinos which vary in flux and spectrum with the particular fuel isotopes undergoing fission (a). Some interact in a nearby detector via inverse beta decay (b). The measured signal is compared to a reference copy stored in a database for the relevant reactor, initial fuel, and burnup (c); a sufficiently matching signal indicates that the core inventory has not been covertly altered. If the antineutrino flux of a perturbed reactor is sufficiently different from expected, a diversion can be concluded to have taken place.« less

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    Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.