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.
Comparison of various images: (a) background, (b) beta sources, (c) 0.7% – natural UO3 in petri dish, (d) 0.2% – depleted UO3 in petri dish, (e) 0.7% – natural UO3 in metal dish, (f) Po-210*, (g) 0.7% – natural U metal, and (h) 93% U metal.
- J.S. Feener, "Fluorescence Imaging for Nuclear Arms Control Verification", Ph.D. Dissertation, Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2014).
- J.S. Feener and W.S. Charlton, "Initial Results of Nuclear Fluorescence Imaging for Arms Control Verification", INMM 54th Annual Meeting, 14-18 July 2013, Palm Desert, California, USA.
- J. S. Feener W. S. Charlton, "Preliminary Results of Nuclear Fluorescence Imaging of Alpha and Beta Emitting Sources", Advancements in Nuclear Instrumentation Measurement Methods and their Applications 3rd Conference, Marseille, France, 23-27 June 2013.
- J.S. Feener and W.S. Charlton, "Warhead Verification Using Nuclear Fluorescence", Institute of Nuclear Materials and Management Taos Technical Meeting, Taos, NM, May 2011.