The potential for neutrinos as a nuclear security tool has been recognized for nearly 70 years – well before these weakly interacting particles were even detected. As an unshieldable emission from fission products, neutrinos are powerful messengers about the inner workings of reactors, nuclear explosions, submarines, and spent fuel. The flip side of that power is a serious practical weakness: as particle physicists have long known, capturing neutrino signals requires complex and often very large detectors. This talk will discuss a variety of ideas proposed for neutrino applications in reactor safeguards, nuclear verification, and related areas. Although none of these ideas have yet been practically realized, advances in detector technology are bringing some possibilities closer to reality. The talk will include both recent technical results and questions for the nuclear policy community with the goal of generating some cross-disciplinary conversation.
Co-sponsored by the Yale Kimball Smith Series.
Hosts: Talia Weiss, Anthony Asuega-Souza