Participation at the DPG Spring Meeting [cancelled]


Participation of our group members in the DPG Spring Meeting of the Matter and Cosmos Section (SMuK).


Bonn 2020 – scientific programm

AGA: Working Group on Physics and Disarmament

AGA 2: Fissile Material Production and Nuclear Reactors

AGA 2.2: Talk

Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 14:45–15:10, H-HS XVII

Assessing a state's fissile material production using the nuclear fuel cycle simulator Cyclus — •Max Schalz, Madalina Wittel, and Malte Göttsche — RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

The field of nuclear archaeology aims to reconstruct the fissile material production of a state. While this could apply in a verification context, it is also suited for independent assessments in absence of a formal verification regime using available information on the nuclear programme's history and simulation tools. To this end, we examine the use of Cyclus, a flexible, agent-based nuclear fuel cycle simulator. It provides an easy-to-use framework allowing the simulation of fissile and other material streams throughout numerous different nuclear facilities. By recreating a country's nuclear complex in Cyclus, we determine the maximum production capacity of fissile materials. The results of such simulations could be used to check the consistency of available information, including records that would be provided in a formal verification context. As a case study, the Pakistani uranium enrichment and plutonium production programme is simulated and the results are compared to the available literature.

AGA 2.3: Talk

Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 15:10–15:35, H-HS XVII

Reconstructing past reactor operation from isotopic ratios in shut-down facilities — •Lukas Rademacher, Benjamin Jung, Jakob Brochhaus, and Malte Göttsche — RWTH Aachen

Current stocks of fissile materials are sufficient to increase ten-fold the number of existing nuclear warheads. A comprehensive verification regime monitoring irreversible disarmament requires scientific methods to verify the completeness of fissile material baseline declarations.

We study an approach based on measurements taken in structural materials after reactor shut-down to verify fissile material production histories. Focusing on trace isotopes created by irradiation of structural elements during the active period, the neutron fluence is reconstructed by analyzing isotopic ratios. The plutonium production can then be inferred from the neutron fluence in conjunction with additional operational reactor parameters.

Sensitivity analysis tools allow us to investigate the impact of different operational parameters on the expected isotope quantities. The goal is to quantify uncertainties of plutonium production estimates stemming from incomplete information of such parameters and to - where possible - develop new methods of gaining additional information about past reactor operations.

AGA 7: Verification and Safeguards

AGA 7.2: Talk

Friday, April 3, 2020, 11:45–12:10, H-HS XVII

Prospects for Safeguarding Radioactive Waste with Antineutrino Measurements — •Madalina Wittel, Anike Ohm, and Malte Göttsche — Nuclear Verification and Disarmament Group, RWTH Aachen University

The radioactive waste produced in the past decades contains many significant quantities of plutonium, one of the key ingredients for manufacturing nuclear weapons. Thus, it raises an important safeguarding challenge. For the first hundreds of years after discharge, the dominant radioactivity of the waste comes from long-lived beta-decaying elements, in particular 90Sr and 137Cs. In this talk, we discuss the prospects of safeguarding long-term geological nuclear waste repositories by detecting the low-energy antineutrinos emitted via beta-decays by the waste itself. We investigate whether these antineutrino measurements could be carried out with high resolution imaging liquid-argon (LAr) detectors. This emerging technology could detect antineutrinos even below the inverse beta decay kinematic threshold. Furthermore, due to their imaging properties, LAr detectors could also provide directionality information which may be used for background rejection and potentially for indicating if and where a certain amount of nuclear waste has been diverted. In this talk, we present a preliminary feasibility study for employing LAr detectors for safeguarding geological radioactive waste repositories. We consider a realistic repository layout as a study case and evaluate the detector performance in this context, from first principles. Finally, we address both the challenges and the advantages of employing LAr detectors for safeguards purposes.

The conference takes place at the:

Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Campus City Centre & Campus Poppelsdorf

Hashtag: #DPGBN20