T.F. Nichols, D.M. Beals, M.R. Sternat, R.L. Webb, “Reactor Physics Modeling of Spent Research Reactor Fuel for Technical Nuclear Forensics”, 52nd Annual Meeting of the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management (INMM), Palm Desert, CA, July 17-21, 2011.
Technical nuclear forensics (TNF) refers to the collection, analysis and evaluation of pre- and post- detonation radiological or nuclear materials, devices, and/or debris. TNF is an integral component, complementing traditional forensics and investigative work, to help enable the attribution of discovered radiological or nuclear material. Research is needed to improve the capabilities of TNF. One research area of interest is determining the isotopic signatures of research reactors. Research reactors are a potential source of both radiological and nuclear material. Research reactors are often the least safeguarded type of reactor; they vary greatly in size, fuel type, enrichment, power, and burn-up. Many research reactors are fueled with highly-enriched uranium (HEU), up to ~93%