Description of ALARMA: the alarm algorithm developed for the Nuclear Car Wash

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The goal of any alarm algorithm should be that it provide the necessary tools to derive confidence limits on whether the existence of fissile materials is present in cargo containers. It should be able to extract these limits from (usually) noisy and/or weak data while maintaining a false alarm rate (FAR) that is economically suitable for port operations. It should also be able to perform its analysis within a reasonably short amount of time (i.e. {approx} seconds). To achieve this, it is essential that the algorithm be able to identify and subtract any interference signature that might otherwise be confused ... continued below

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PDF-file: 61 pages; size: 2.1 Mbytes

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Luu, T; Biltoft, P; Church, J; Descalle, M; Hall, J; Manatt, D et al. November 28, 2006.

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Description

The goal of any alarm algorithm should be that it provide the necessary tools to derive confidence limits on whether the existence of fissile materials is present in cargo containers. It should be able to extract these limits from (usually) noisy and/or weak data while maintaining a false alarm rate (FAR) that is economically suitable for port operations. It should also be able to perform its analysis within a reasonably short amount of time (i.e. {approx} seconds). To achieve this, it is essential that the algorithm be able to identify and subtract any interference signature that might otherwise be confused with a fissile signature. Lastly, the algorithm itself should be user-intuitive and user-friendly so that port operators with little or no experience with detection algorithms may use it with relative ease. In support of the Nuclear Car Wash project at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, we have developed an alarm algorithm that satisfies the above requirements. The description of the this alarm algorithm, dubbed ALARMA, is the purpose of this technical report. The experimental setup of the nuclear car wash has been well documented [1, 2, 3]. The presence of fissile materials is inferred by examining the {beta}-delayed gamma spectrum induced after a brief neutron irradiation of cargo, particularly in the high-energy region above approximately 2.5 MeV. In this region naturally occurring gamma rays are virtually non-existent. Thermal-neutron induced fission of {sup 235}U and {sup 239}P, on the other hand, leaves a unique {beta}-delayed spectrum [4]. This spectrum comes from decays of fission products having half-lives as large as 30 seconds, many of which have high Q-values. Since high-energy photons penetrate matter more freely, it is natural to look for unique fissile signatures in this energy region after neutron irradiation. The goal of this interrogation procedure is a 95% success rate of detection of as little as 5 kilograms of fissile material while retaining at most .1% false alarm rate. Plywood is used to simulate hydrogenous cargo material and steel (pipes) is used to simulate metallic cargo. The wood consists of 120 x 240 cm sheets and has approximately .65 g/cm{sup 3}. The steel pipes have approximately 10 cm diameters x 6.4 mm wall thickness are .6 g/cm{sup 3}. Fissile sources consist of a ''large'' (380 g) and ''small'' (250 g) sample of HEU (U{sub 3}O{sub 8} 94% enriched). Note that the masses of the HEU sources used in our experimental runs are at least an order of magnitude smaller than 5 kilograms. Runs are done with either wood or steel cargoes stacked at various heights and the HEU sources placed at various depths within the cargo.

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PDF-file: 61 pages; size: 2.1 Mbytes

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  • Report No.: UCRL-TR-227515
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/900435 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 900435
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc883626

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  • November 28, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 23, 2016, 12:43 p.m.

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Luu, T; Biltoft, P; Church, J; Descalle, M; Hall, J; Manatt, D et al. Description of ALARMA: the alarm algorithm developed for the Nuclear Car Wash, report, November 28, 2006; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc883626/: accessed July 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.