"Fluorescence Imaging for Nuclear Arms Control Verification,"
Ph.D. Dissertation, Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2014).
Nuclear disarmament is a highly debated subject. Proponents
argue that political conditions for nuclear disarmament are ripe.
Opponents reason that dismantlement could create instability
leading to a higher probability of nuclear war or large-scale
conventional war. Verification of disarmament can help alleviate
instabilities and as nuclear arsenals decrease, verifying actual
warheads and not just delivery vehicles will become more important.
Current techniques that could be used in warhead verification have
the ability to reveal sensitive information about the warhead and
thus require an information barrier.
This research developed a proof-of-principle concept for a new
technique to address the need of nuclear warhead verification for
arms control treaties. Specifically, this technique uses
fluorescence imaging to determine fissile material attributes in
verifying an uncanned nuclear warhead or warhead component without
revealing sensitive information. This could potentially reduce the
need for an information barrier.
Experiments were performed using a Princeton Instruments PIXIS:
1024B/BVU back-illuminated CCD camera to image the fluorescence
produced by the decay of nuclear material. The Monte Carlo
simulation tool GEANT4 was used to model the experimental setups
and to compare with the experimental results. The results verified
the proof-of-concept of fluorescence imaging for use in nuclear
arms control treaty verification.
Fluorescence imaging would be most beneficial to the fissile
material attributes of U enrichment (greater than a threshold) and
symmetry. It also contributes valuable data to verifying the
presence of fissile material, presence of Pu, presence of U, mass
greater than a threshold, Pu age, and 239Pu to 240Pu ratio greater
than a threshold. Fluorescence imaging may also be beneficial to
the absence of oxide attribute but additional experiments are
needed to confirm this assumption. Additionally, it was concluded
that the only potential for revealing presumably sensitive
information is the ability to provide too much image detail on
external surfaces of Pu components. However, simple steps can be
taken to prevent the imaging system from acquiring too much detail;
thus eliminating the need for an information barrier.
Associated Project(s):Fluorescence Imaging for Nuclear Arms Control Verification