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Title: Technical solutions to nonproliferation challenges

The threat of nuclear terrorism is real and poses a significant challenge to both U.S. and global security. For terrorists, the challenge is not so much the actual design of an improvised nuclear device (IND) but more the acquisition of the special nuclear material (SNM), either highly enriched uranium (HEU) or plutonium, to make the fission weapon. This paper provides two examples of technical solutions that were developed in support of the nonproliferation objective of reducing the opportunity for acquisition of HEU. The first example reviews technologies used to monitor centrifuge enrichment plants to determine if there is any diversion of uranium materials or misuse of facilities to produce undeclared product. The discussion begins with a brief overview of the basics of uranium processing and enrichment. The role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), its safeguard objectives and how the technology evolved to meet those objectives will be described. The second example focuses on technologies developed and deployed to monitor the blend down of 500 metric tons of HEU from Russia's dismantled nuclear weapons to reactor fuel or low enriched uranium (LEU) under the U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement. This reactor fuel was then purchased by U.S. fuel fabricators andmore » provided about half the fuel for the domestic power reactors. The Department of Energy established the HEU Transparency Program to provide confidence that weapons usable HEU was being blended down and thus removed from any potential theft scenario. Two measurement technologies, an enrichment meter and a flow monitor, were combined into an automated blend down monitoring system (BDMS) and were deployed to four sites in Russia to provide 24/7 monitoring of the blend down. Data was downloaded and analyzed periodically by inspectors to provide the assurances required.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Director, Nonproliferation, Safeguards and Security Programs, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22280426
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 1596; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: Short course on nuclear weapon issues in the 21st century, Washington, DC (United States), 2-3 Nov 2013; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
98 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION; CENTRIFUGE ENRICHMENT PLANTS; HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM; IAEA; MONITORING; NUCLEAR FUELS; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; PERIODICITY; PLUTONIUM; POWER REACTORS; PROLIFERATION; REVIEWS; RUSSIAN FEDERATION; SAFEGUARDS; SECURITY; USA; VULNERABILITY