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C.A. Gariazzo, S.S. Chirayath, "Advancing a Systems Optimization Tool for Monitoring Special Nuclear Material," Proceedings of the INMM 52nd Annual Meeting, Palm Desert, CA, July 17-21, 2011.


Under its international safeguards obligations, a nuclear facility will implement a security system that is developed and designed to incorporate (and hopefully integrate) elements of physical protection and containment and surveillance. Simple nuclear security components can range from closed-circuit camera systems, electromagnetic door locks, motion sensors, physical barriers, portal monitors and other radiation sensors, and radio-frequency identification tags. Integrating these various components into an effective system is difficult yet essential in providing confidence in the security and control of the special nuclear material within the facility. A tool for optimizing various material control and containment and surveillance systems would facilitate effective implementation of these systems for high assurance that material diversion could occur. At Texas A&M University, staff at the Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute (NSSPI) has begun investigating such a systems optimization tool for various material control and containment/surveillance systems that is to be implemented in a small static, storage facility: an applied safeguards teaching laboratory for graduate-level nuclear engineering students. The facility simulates a typical static professional research laboratory with special nuclear material. The tool is based on using a stochastic radiation transport code for determining vulnerabilities of the installed radiation monitoring systems within the laboratory. In early 2010, NSSPI staff completed a proof of concept by simulating the movement of one highly-enriched uranium source though and out a single room with a single point of exit. The results were indicative of suspected vulnerabilities by the investigators and a more complex design and scenario was then devised for the next scenario: increased radiation attenuation, elevated radiation backgrounds, accelerated motion, more points of access, etc. This presentation will discuss the results of this advanced modeling endeavor and present the work into a hypothetical systems optimization tool that could eventually benefit the nuclear safeguards and security industry.

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Associated Project(s):

  • Novel Detection Technologies for Safeguards and Security Applications

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