E.B. Rauch, W.S. Charlton, D.G. Ford, “Developing a Safeguards Approach for a Small Graphite Moderated Reactor and Associated Fuel Cycle Facilities”, 2009 Annual Meeting of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Tucson, AZ, July 12-15, 2009.
Only a small number of graphite moderated reactor facilities exist in the world today; however, there has been some interest in reviving this concept especially for application in developing states. The materials needed in their construction and the engineering required to support them are easier to acquire for developing countries than typical light water reactor designs. Also, most graphite moderated reactor designs are more ‘grid appropriate’ in power output. Graphite moderated reactors though pose a problem to the international community due to the fact that they may produce weapons-grade plutonium. Since so few systems of this type exist, experience in designing safeguards systems for these facilities is limited. In this work, a safeguardsapproach for a small graphite moderated reactor co-located with a fuel fabrication and reprocessing facility was developed. This approach demonstrated that IAEA safeguards, using conventional technologies, is sufficient to provide timely detection of a diversion of a significant quantity of nuclear material and to provide deterrence against such a diversion with minimal impact onfacility operations in the case of an off-load refueled core. A unique test case (the Yongbyon complex in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) was used to assess the viability of this approach. For a core which can be on-load refueled some challenges still exist. In this paper, the safeguards approach is described as well as its applications to the on-load and offload refueled systems. Successes and challenges for this approach are discussed.