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NE 130

Course Title: 
Analytical Methods for Non-Proliferation
Course Units: 
Catalog Description: 
  • Use of nuclear measurement techniques to detect clandestine movement and/or possession of nuclear materials by third parties.  Nuclear detection, forensics, signatures, and active and passive interrogation methodologies will be explored. Techniques currently deployed for arms control and treaty verification will be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on common elements of detection technology from the viewpoint  of resolution of threat signatures from false positives due to  naturally occurring radioactive material. Laboratory will involve  experiments conducted in the Nucleonics Laboratory featuring passive and active neutron signals, gamma ray detection, fission neutron multiplicity,  and U and Pu isotopic identification and age determination.  Students should be familiar with alpha, beta, gamma and neutron radiation and basic concepts of nuclear fission.
Course Prerequisite: 
  • NE 101 Nuclear Reactions and Radiation or equivalent course in nuclear physics, or consent of instructor.
Course Objectives: 
  • familiarize students with the basics of nucler weapons and the types of special nuclear material involved
  • show how SNM can be detected and analyzed forensically
  • illustrate  the methods of monitoring for nuclear tests
  • show the properties of radiation detectors, existing and proposed, for active and passive interrogation
  • discuss source technologies for active interrrogation systems under development
Course Outcomes: 
  • identify isotope peaks in gamma ray spectra for SNM and for naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM)
  • solve coupled differential equations for radioactive decay and for isotope production in reactors
  • use seismic data to estimate the location, release  energy, and nuclear/non-nuclear origin of seismic events
  • calculate gamma ray attenuation for shielded-source configurations
  • estimate neutron and gamma-ray efficiencies and resolution
  • use uncertainty table data to specify rates of false positives and Matthews correlation coefficients
  • use airborne monitoring data to determine U/Pu fission type
  • Understand and use the Pu-300 method to determine plutonium age
  • understand the function and interplay of national and international organizations involved in nonproliferation and arms control issues
Class/Laboratory Schedule: 
  • Three hours of lecture and one to three hours of laboratory per week