Presentations made by NSSPI students Royal Elmore and Matthew Swinney at the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Annual Meeting in November 2014 were highlighted in the January 2015 edition of the ANS’s publication Nuclear News. Their presentations were part of a session on nonproliferation sponsored by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Technical Group (whose name was changed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy Division in November).
Elmore’s presentation focused on the application of the Proliferation Resistance Analysis and Evaluation Tool (PRAETOR), which was developed by NSSPI to assess and evaluate the relative proliferation resistance of nuclear energy systems. His contribution to the evolution of PRAETOR involved the inclusion of containment, surveillance, and physical protection attributes, and he demonstrated the application of the new PRAETOR attributes to five case studies. These additional attributes have broadened the range of scenarios that could be assessed by PRAETOR and increased its usefulness at the State-level as a tool for decision makers to determine the most effective allocation of resources for nonproliferation. See paper abstract. See more information about PRAETOR.
Swinney presented his work on the Nuclear Forensics Analysis of Separated Plutonium project, which uses computational and experimental methods to identify and measure possible signatures for weapons-grade plutonium produced in certain types of reactors. His work involves the characterization of an experimental irradiation of depleted uranium-oxide samples at the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which is intended to emulate the irradiation of uranium in the blanket of a fast-breeder reactor. Fast-breeder reactors are of particular interest because they are likely to be operated in a non-safeguarded environment in the near future. A reliable “fingerprint” could serve as a powerful deterrent and nuclear forensics tool. See paper abstract.