Assessing the Proliferation Resistance of Innovative Nuclear Fuel Cycles
The National Nuclear Security Administration is developing methods for nonproliferation assessments to support the development and implementation of U.S. nonproliferation policy. This paper summarizes the key results of that effort. Proliferation resistance is the degree of difficulty that a nuclear material, facility, process, or activity poses to the acquisition of one or more nuclear weapons. A top-level measure of proliferation resistance for a fuel cycle system is developed here from a hierarchy of metrics. At the lowest level, intrinsic and extrinsic barriers to proliferation are defined. These barriers are recommended as a means to characterize the proliferation characteristics of a fuel cycle. Because of the complexity of nonproliferation assessments, the problem is decomposed into: metrics to be computed, barriers to proliferation, and a finite set of threats. The spectrum of potential threats of nuclear proliferation is complex and ranges from small terrorist cells to industrialized countries with advanced nuclear fuel cycles.
KeywordsScenario Analysis Fuel Cycle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Guideline Document Proliferation Characteristic
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