Particle Physics in Birmingham

Particle Physics Seminar

Wednesday 25th January 2023 at 13:30

(coffee served at 1315)

Remote Reactor Monitoring via Antineutrinos

Matthew Malek (Sheffield University)


Nuclear reactors and neutrino research have enjoyed a long and productive history together. This 'partnership' began in the 1950s, when Cowan and Reines used the Savannah River reactors to confirm the existence of (anti)neutrinos. In the decades since, a series of reactor neutrino experiments -- such as Chooz, KamLAND, and Daya Bay -- have given us insight into the properties of neutrinos. Complementing this fundamental scientific research, reactor antineutrinos can also be used for the practical purpose of nuclear non-proliferation. The copious flux of antineutrinos produced by a nuclear reactor provides an unshieldable signal. With a suitable detector, this signal can be used to discover clandestine reactors and monitor known reactors from a distance. For non-proliferation applications, it is useful to determine both the existence of a clandestine reactor (potentially in the presence of a known reactor), and the distance to that reactor. In this presentation, I will discuss potential designs for such a detector, and the R&D underway to realise those designs. I will also present the results from studies that demonstrate the potential for discovering and ranging a distant reactor.