Directionally Accelerated Detection of an Unknown Second Reactor with Antineutrinos for Mid-Field Nonproliferation Monitoring

Danielson, DL, Akindele, OA, Askins, M, Bergevin, M, Bernstein, A, Burns, J, Carroll, A, Coleman, J ORCID: 0000-0003-1319-0889, Collins, R, Connor, C
et al (show 60 more authors) (2019) Directionally Accelerated Detection of an Unknown Second Reactor with Antineutrinos for Mid-Field Nonproliferation Monitoring.

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When monitoring a reactor site for nuclear nonproliferation purposes, the presence of an unknown or hidden nuclear reactor could be obscured by the activities of a known reactor of much greater power nearby. Thus when monitoring reactor activities by the observation of antineutrino emissions, one must discriminate known background reactor fluxes from possible unknown reactor signals under investigation. To quantify this discrimination, we find the confidence to reject the (null) hypothesis of a single proximal reactor, by exploiting directional antineutrino signals in the presence of a second, unknown reactor. In particular, we simulate the inverse beta decay (IBD) response of a detector filled with a 1 kT fiducial mass of Gadolinium-doped liquid scintillator in mineral oil. We base the detector geometry on that of WATCHMAN, an upcoming antineutrino monitoring experiment soon to be deployed at the Boulby mine in the United Kingdom whose design and deployment will be detailed in a forthcoming white paper. From this simulation, we construct an analytical model of the IBD event distribution for the case of one $4\mathrm{\ GWt}\pm2\%$ reactor 25 km away from the detector site, and for an additional, unknown, 35 MWt reactor 3 to 5 km away. The effects of natural-background rejection cuts are approximated. Applying the model, we predict $3\sigma$ confidence to detect the presence of an unknown reactor within five weeks, at standoffs of 3 km or nearer. For more distant unknown reactors, the $3\sigma$ detection time increases significantly. However, the relative significance of directional sensitivity also increases, providing up to an eight week speedup to detect an unknown reactor at 5 km away. Therefore, directionally sensitive antineutrino monitoring can accelerate the mid-field detection of unknown reactors whose operation might otherwise be masked by more powerful reactors in the vicinity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: 9 pages, 10 figures
Uncontrolled Keywords: physics.ins-det, physics.ins-det, hep-ex, hep-ph,
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2019 09:58
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 00:20
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