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Title: ONIX: An Open-Source Burnup Code for Nuclear Archaeology
Authors: de Troullioud de Lanversin, Julien
Advisors: Glaser, Alexander
Contributors: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department
Keywords: Fissile Material Verification
Nuclear Archaeology
Nuclear Engineering
Nuclear Reactor Physics
Numerical Simulation
Subjects: Applied physics
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: All nuclear-armed states use plutonium in their weapon designs and have acquired stockpiles of military plutonium. Verifying existing stockpiles and their elimination is a key challenge for nuclear arms control and disarmament efforts. With nuclear ar- chaeology, it is possible to independently reconstruct plutonium production histories using isotope ratio measurements during inspections combined with detailed reac- tor simulations. However, most of these simulation tools are proprietary or export- controlled. As a consequence, they lack transparency and not all parties engaged in processes involving plutonium production estimates might gain access to the same tools. Furthermore, nuclear archaeology is unable to provide complete estimates of plutonium production in reactors that also produced tritium, another isotope used in nuclear weapons and produced by nuclear-armed states. This thesis introduces ONIX, the first open-source nuclear reactor simulation soft- ware that can be used to estimate plutonium production with nuclear archaeology. ONIX is a nuclear burnup software that computes the changes in the isotopic compo- sition of different materials in a nuclear reactor. ONIX provides a coupling interface for the open-source neutron transport code, OpenMC and a module to solve the bur- nup equation. The software is also equipped with a module that automates methods of nuclear archaeology. The code is validated using results from two different bench- marks, and its results agree with other code packages within expected error ranges. In the context of nuclear arms control and disarmament processes, ONIX can pro- vide plutonium production estimates in a fully transparent way that enhances mutual trust among parties. To estimate plutonium production in reactors that have also produced tritium, a new method called production mode verification is introduced. It relies on the fact that the production of plutonium leads to a neutron spectrum in the reactor that is different from the spectrum that characterizes tritium production. Specific iso- tope ratios can be measured to detect such differences in neutron spectra. This work demonstrates the general feasibility of the method for heavy-water reactors using de- tailed reactor simulations. This method could be indispensable to estimate plutonium production in nuclear-armed states since they all produced tritium in nuclear reactors for weapons development.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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