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Proliferation Resistance Assessment Methodology for Nuclear Fuel Cycles

William S. Charlton, Ryan F. LeBouf, Claudio Gariazzo, D. Grant Ford, Carl Beard, Sheldon Landsberger, Michael Whitaker

Nuclear Technology / Volume 157 / Number 2 / February 2007 / Pages 143-156

Technical Paper / Fuel Cycle and Management

A methodology, based on the multiattribute utility analysis, for the assessment of diverse fuel cycles for proliferation resistance was developed. This methodology is intended to allow for the assessment of the effectiveness of safeguards implementation at facilities within a large-scale fuel cycle and allow for the ability to choose technologies based in part on their effectiveness to deter the proliferation of nuclear materials. Fuel cycle facilities under consideration include nuclear reactors, reprocessing facilities, fuel storage facilities, enrichment plants, fuel fabrication plants, uranium conversion plants, and uranium mining and milling operations. The method uses a series of attributes (for example, Department of Energy attractiveness level, weight fraction of even Pu isotopes, measurement uncertainty, etc.) to determine a proliferation resistance measure for each step in a process flow sheet. Each of the attributes has a weighting that determines its importance in the overall assessment. Each attribute also has an associated utility function derived from both expert knowledge and physical characteristics that relates changes in the value of the attribute to its overall effect on the proliferation resistance measure. A method for aggregating proliferation resistance values for each process in a flow sheet into an overall nuclear security measure for the complete cycle was also developed. This method is focused on preventing host nation diversion; however, a similar technique could be used to analyze the risk due to theft by an insider or outsider. This methodology has been applied successfully for example fuel cycles to demonstrate its viability as an assessment methodology and its capability in discriminating diverse fuel cycle options.

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