Global estimation of potential unreported plutonium in thermal research reactors

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As of November, 1993, 303 research reactors (research, test, training, prototype, and electricity producing) were operational worldwide; 155 of these were in non-nuclear weapon states. Of these 155 research reactors, 80 are thermal reactors that have a power rating of 1 MW(th) or greater and could be utilized to produce plutonium. A previously published study on the unreported plutonium production of six research reactors indicates that a minimum reactor power of 40 MW (th) is required to make a significant quantity (SQ), 8 kg, of fissile plutonium per year by unreported irradiations. As part of the Global Nuclear Material Control ... continued below

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7 p.

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Dreicer, J.S. & Rutherford, D.A. September 1, 1996.

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As of November, 1993, 303 research reactors (research, test, training, prototype, and electricity producing) were operational worldwide; 155 of these were in non-nuclear weapon states. Of these 155 research reactors, 80 are thermal reactors that have a power rating of 1 MW(th) or greater and could be utilized to produce plutonium. A previously published study on the unreported plutonium production of six research reactors indicates that a minimum reactor power of 40 MW (th) is required to make a significant quantity (SQ), 8 kg, of fissile plutonium per year by unreported irradiations. As part of the Global Nuclear Material Control Model effort, we determined an upper bound on the maximum possible quantity of plutonium that could be produced by the 80 thermal research reactors in the non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS). We estimate that in one year a maximum of roughly one quarter of a metric ton (250 kg) of plutonium could be produced in these 80 NNWS thermal research reactors based on their reported power output. We have calculated the quantity of plutonium and the number of years that would be required to produce an SQ of plutonium in the 80 thermal research reactors and aggregated by NNWS. A safeguards approach for multiple thermal research reactors that can produce less than 1 SQ per year should be conducted in association with further developing a safeguards and design information reverification approach for states that have multiple research reactors.

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7 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE96014638

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  • 37. annual meeting of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Naples, FL (United States), 28 Jul - 1 Aug 1996

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  • Other: DE96014638
  • Report No.: LA-UR--96-2617
  • Report No.: CONF-960767--62
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 379969
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc685588

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  • September 1, 1996

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • Feb. 29, 2016, 3:19 p.m.

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Dreicer, J.S. & Rutherford, D.A. Global estimation of potential unreported plutonium in thermal research reactors, article, September 1, 1996; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc685588/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.