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Identification of Fissionable Materials


Development of Technology of Non-destructive Identification of Fissile Materials in Control Stations

Tech Area / Field

  • INS-DET/Detection Devices/Instrumentation

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Glazova M B

Leading Institute
MIFI, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • State Research Center – Institute of Biophysics, Russia, Moscow\nAll-Russian Research Institute of Automatics, Russia, Moscow


  • CEA / DTA / LETI/CEN Saclay, France, Saclay\nPajarito Scientific Corporation, USA, NM, Los-Alamos

Project summary

The problem of non-proliferation of nuclear weapon assumes the maintenance of global account and management of uses of all kinds fission materials in locations their creations, processing, storage, as well as control at transportation. The heaviest danger thus presents 235U and 239PU, as they are the main components of nuclear weapon. Especially dangerous is non-authorized crossing these materials through state border, as the cases of "nuclear blackmail" by terrorist organizations or separate persons are thus possible.

Project uses the new method of analysis of quantity 235U and 239PU, which is based on use pulsed neutron generator in design from two neutrons moderators with various decay constants of thermal neutrons. The controllable luggage is placed between neutron moderators and strong thermal neutron absorber. Then, analyzing the temporary dependence of neutron flux in moderator with great decay constant, it is possible to define the availability fission materials in luggage.

To prevent approach premeditated transport of prohibited materials by strong thermal neutron absorber, it is assumed to use the response of fast neutrons and gamma-quantum with schemes of coincidence and also to measure the space distribution of thermal neutrons, past through luggage.

Expected results

After the project completion the following intermediate and final results will be received. The intermediate results are:

- development complex of experimental methods of fission material detection in luggage with unknown elemental structure and determination on basis of these researches in experimental representative series of such quantitative and qualitative characteristics, which enable us to identify fission materials presence unequivocally;
- development and manufacture of pulsed neutron generators with various neutron spectra and temporal regimes of their work with improved operational characteristics (resource of continuous work, neutron intensity, overall dimensions and etc.) that makes it possible to use them in fissile substances control installations;
- radiation-hygiene basis of allowable levels of luggage irradiation by neutron flux of given intensity;
- development and manufacture of a multichannel neutron spectrometric complex operating according to a temporal regime providing accumulation of necessary experimental information on presence of fissile isotopes and other prohibited for transportation materials;
- creation of PC software operating in "on-line" regime with recording blocks of the installation necessary for data analysis in various modes.
The main result of the project is development of a technology of fission materials identification at special control stations using pulsed neutron generators. This technology is implemented in the model of pilot installation of luggage control with rational operational characteristics, determined by means of physical analysis of experiments and also can be used for detection of explosive, narcotic and radioactive substances.

The potential role foreign collaborators

The role of foreign collaborators consists in discussion of received experimental and settlement results, as well as in updating of general direction of researches.

VNHA is interested in co-operation with foreign partners as far as the project is concerned. Interest to this work is displayed by some foreign firm. In particular, National USA Laboratories (Sandia, Livermore, Los-Alamos) are widely to cooperate in the area of application of neutron generators, that is marked in Memorandum of joint Russian-American meeting of representatives of National USA Laboratories and VNQA, which was need in February 9-10, 1994. At present there is an agreement with Dr. C.Dickerman from Argonne National Laboratory to be a foreign collaborator in this work.


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