• Iran Nuclear Inspection Deal with UN Watchdog Extended by One Month

    Iran and the UN’s nuclear watchdog say they have agreed to extend by one month an agreement to monitor Tehran’s nuclear activities, a move that will give more time for ongoing diplomatic efforts to salvage the country’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers.

  • Nuclear Terrorism Could Be Intercepted by Neutron-Gamma Detector

    Scanning technology aimed at detecting small amounts of nuclear materials was unveiled by scientists. The technology can be used in airports and seaports for routine inspection of passengers and goods.

  • Retaining Knowledge of Nuclear Waste Management

    Sandia National Laboratories have begun their second year of a project to capture important, hard-to-explain nuclear waste management knowledge from retirement-age employees to help new employees get up to speed faster. The project has experts share their experience with and knowledge of storage, transportation, and disposal with next generation scientists.

  • Ultrasensitive Measurements Detect Nuclear Explosions

    Imagine being able to detect the faintest of radionuclide signals from hundreds of miles away. Scientists have developed a system which constantly collects and analyzes air samples for signals that would indicate a nuclear explosion, perhaps conducted secretly underground. The system can detect just a small number of atoms from nuclear activity anywhere on the planet. In terms of sensitivity, the capability – in place for decades – is analogous to the ability to detect coronavirus from a single cough anywhere on Earth.

  • Catching Nuclear Smugglers: Fast Algorithm Enable Cost-Effective Detectors at Borders

    Nations need to protect their citizens from the threat of nuclear terrorism. Nuclear security deters and detects the smuggling of special nuclear materials—highly enriched uranium, weapons-grade plutonium or materials that produce a lot of radiation—across national borders. A new algorithm could enable faster, less expensive detection of weapons-grade nuclear materials at borders, quickly differentiating between benign and illicit radiation signatures in the same cargo.

  • Iran’s Nuclear “Breakout” Time Reduced to 3-4 Months

    In May 2018, when President Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Iran “breakout” time was estimated to be 12-16 months. Breakout is defined as the time Iran would need to produce 25 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium (WGU), enough for a nuclear weapon. A new report says that Iran’s breakout time now is 3.1 to 4.6 months.

  • How Lasers Can Help with Nuclear Nonproliferation Monitoring

    Scientists developed a new method showing that measuring the light produced in plasmas made from a laser can be used to understand uranium oxidation in nuclear fireballs. This capability gives never-before-seen insight into uranium gas-phase oxidation during nuclear explosions. These insights further progress toward a reliable, non-contact method for remote detection of uranium elements and isotopes, with implications for nonproliferation safeguards, explosion monitoring and treaty verification.

  • Lasers to Detect Weapons-Grade Uranium from Afar

    It’s hard enough to identify nuclear materials when you can directly scan a suspicious suitcase or shipping container. But if you can’t get close? A technique for detecting enriched uranium with lasers could help regulators sniff out illicit nuclear activities from as far as a couple of miles away.

  • Bolstering Realistic Radiation Training

    The Radiation Field Training Simulator (RaFTS) technology provides a first responder training solution that can be used to protect against acts of radiological or nuclear terrorism and to deal with their subsequent aftermath.

  • Safe, Fast Radionuclide Detection

    In the event of a radiological release, such as from an improvised nuclear device, immediately assessing the threat to public safety would be critical. Rapid detection of radioactive materials can save lives, reduce the environmental impact of such an event and save taxpayer dollars. Current hand-held detection methods, however, are unreliable at detecting very low levels of alpha radiation from actinides, such as uranium, due to environmental influences.

  • Smaller Detection Device for Nuclear Treaty Verification, Archaeology Digs

    Most nuclear data measurements are performed at accelerators large enough to occupy a geologic formation a kilometer wide, like the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center located on a mesa in the desert. But a portable device that can reveal the composition of materials quickly on-site would greatly benefit cases such as in archaeology and nuclear arms treaty verification.

  • Dealing with the Soviet Nuclear Legacy

    On 29 August 1949, the Soviet Union conducted their first nuclear test. Over a 40-year period, they conducted 456 nuclear explosions at Semipalatinsk, in eastern Kazakhstan — 116 aboveground and 340 underground. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many of the scientists and military personnel abandoned the site and fled the country, leaving behind large quantities of nuclear materials, completely unsecured. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has been quietly helping Kazakhstan deal with the Soviet nuclear legacy.

  • Iran’s Nuclear Weapons “Breakout” Time Getting Shorter: Experts

    The Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, and the administration’s “maximum pressure” policy, are failing to yield the desired results, as Iran, pursuing a methodical “creep-out” strategy, is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. In 2015, Iran’s “breakout” time, that is, the amount of time Iran would need to produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon, was three months. The 2015 agreement, by imposing serve technical restrictions and intrusive monitoring, increased Iran’s breakout time to about twelve months. Experts now say that since the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty, Iran’s breakout time has been reduced to 6-10 months. “The breakout time will decrease further as Iran increases its stock of enriched uranium and installs more centrifuges,” the experts say.

  • Helping Nuclear Forensics Investigations by Going Small

    Until recently, the analysis and identification of nuclear fuel pellets in nuclear forensics investigations have been mainly focused on macroscopic characteristics, such as fuel pellet dimensions, uranium enrichment and other reactor-specific features. But scientists are going a step further by going down to the microscale to study the diverse characteristics of nuclear fuel pellets that could improve nuclear forensic analysis by determining more effectively where the material came from and how it was made.

  • Remotely Monitoring Nuclear Reactors with Antineutrino Detection

    Technology to measure the flow of subatomic particles known as antineutrinos from nuclear reactors could allow continuous remote monitoring designed to detect fueling changes that might indicate the diversion of nuclear materials. The monitoring could be done from outside the reactor vessel, and the technology may be sensitive enough to detect substitution of a single fuel assembly.