NSE - Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT


2019 Radiation Science and Technology Award Lecture

Monday, November 4, 2019, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Grier Room 34-101

Areg Danagoulian, MIT

Areg Danagoulian the winner of the 2019 Radiation Science and Technology Award by the ANS Isotopes & Radiation Division.

Nuclear resonance phenomena for disarmament verification

ABSTRACT: Nuclear disarmament treaties are not sufficient in and of themselves to neutralize the existential threat of the nuclear weapons. Technologies are necessary for verifying the authenticity of the nuclear warheads undergoing dismantlement before counting them toward a treaty partner’s obligation. In this talk we will discuss the overall problem of arms control verification and will present a review of verification concepts developed here at MIT. These methods exploit isotope-specific resonance processes, Nuclear Resonance Fluorescence (NRF) and Neutron Resonance Transmission Analysis (NRTA), to authenticate a warhead’s fissile components by comparing them to a previously authenticated "golden copy" template. All information is encrypted in the physical domain. Using Monte Carlo simulations and experiments we show that the measurements readily detect hoaxing attempt, while no significant isotopic or geometric information about the weapon is released. These nuclear techniques can be used to dramatically increase the reach and trustworthiness of future nuclear disarmament treaties.

October 2019

Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, 24-107 (map)
Cambridge, MA 02139