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Title: Scanning of vehicles for nuclear materials

Might a nuclear-armed terrorist group or state use ordinary commerce to deliver a nuclear weapon by smuggling it in a cargo container or vehicle? This delivery method would be the only one available to a sub-state actor, and it might enable a state to make an unattributed attack. Detection of a weapon or fissile material smuggled in this manner is difficult because of the large volume and mass available for shielding. Here I review methods for screening cargo containers to detect the possible presence of nuclear threats. Because of the large volume of innocent international commerce, and the cost and disruption of secondary screening by opening and inspection, it is essential that the method be rapid and have a low false-positive rate. Shielding can prevent the detection of neutrons emitted spontaneously or by induced fission. The two promising methods are muon tomography and high energy X-radiography. If they do not detect a shielded threat object they can detect the shield itself.
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Dept. Physics and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22280434
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; CARGO; COMPUTERIZED TOMOGRAPHY; CONTAINERS; FISSILE MATERIALS; INSPECTION; MUONS; NEUTRONS; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; RADIATION DETECTION; REVIEWS; SHIELDS; VEHICLES