Physics Department Seminar
Dr. Oleg Kamaev
R&D Scientist
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
3:30pm
HP4351


Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ Initiatives in Application of Cosmic Ray Muons to Nuclear Security and Safeguards


Nuclear technologies bring a variety of benefits to our lives such as power generation, radiation therapy, and many industrial applications. While the world relies on continuous carbon-free energy generated by 454 civil nuclear power reactors currently in operation (World Nuclear Association, http://www.world-nuclear.org), it’s critical to ensure that nuclear materials are secure and are used only by authorized persons and only for peaceful purposes. Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has extensive past and on-going experience in the development of technologies to strengthen nuclear safety and security. This experience includes development of high-sensitivity non-degradable detectors for border security, studies of active interrogation methods using neutrons or gamma-rays, and employment of stand-off radiation detectors to locate special nuclear materials, monitor reactors from a distance, and to intercept any diversion operations.     
 
One of the emerging techniques for passive non-destructive detection of shielded illicit nuclear materials in large-volume objects is muon tomography. It uses naturally occurring cosmic-ray muons to determine the presence of high-density/high-Z materials such as uranium or plutonium. Muons are much more deeply penetrating than x-rays, neutrons, or gamma-rays, and cannot be easily shielded, making them particularly attractive to nuclear security and safeguards verification activities. A unique medium-scale muon tomography prototype with a capability of measuring muon momentum, the Cosmic Ray Inspection and Passive Tomography (CRIPT) detector, is in operation at CNL (initially constructed at Carleton). In addition, a portable muon tomography system suitable for rapid detection and response in the event of a nuclear or radiological emergency is undergoing construction and verification.
 
In this talk I will give an overview of CNL with an emphasis on our nuclear safety & security program and discuss recent work in the development of an integrated detection system based on muon tomography for nuclear security.