Monitoring Reactors Near and Far with Antineutrino Detectors Small and Large

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 24-121

Speaker: Adam Bernstein, LLNL

Title: Monitoring reactors near and far with antineutrino detectors small and large


Antineutrino physics applied to reactor monitoring has matured significantly as a discipline in the last decade. Notable successes have been achieved, both in simplifying the relevant technology to make it deployable in practical contexts, and in understanding how the information that antineutrinos provide could support regimes such as the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) reactor Safeguards program. Despite these successes, no antineutrino detector has yet been used in an actual deployment for IAEA safeguards or any other nonproliferation purpose. At tens of meters from the core, antineutrino detection can provide a core-wide material accountancy capability, but introducing this capability into the present IAEA reactor safeguards regime would be disruptive for a variety of reasons. In the mid-field, from 10-100 km or so, straightforward adaptions of today's largest liquid scintillator or water detectors are achievable, but utility is likely limited to a few specific cases. The greatest utility may lie in cross-border detection and monitoring of small reactors. This requires very large detectors, and, even more difficult, the ability to reject antineutrinos from the rest of the world's reactors, which at great distances dominate the antineutrino signal from a specific small reactor of interest. A very large, directional, antineutrino detector would appear to be the only way to succeed at cross-border (>100 km) detection. In this talk, I'll survey the state of the science and art of applied antineutrino physics, and discuss recent technical ideas that might allow a directional capability to be realized in a large detector.