Nuclear Smuggler Detection

These papers describe the research project to which my post-doc at the University of Texas is attached. The project is a multi-disciplinary effort, bringing together nuclear engineers and operations researchers, to create good detection capabilities for smuggled nuclear material. The project is funded as part of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office Academic Research Initiative (DNDO's ARI program).

We describe a stochastic interdiction model on a transportation network consisting of two adversaries: a nuclear-material smuggler and an interdictor. The interdictor first installs radiation detectors on the network. These installations are transparent to the smuggler, and are made under an uncertain threat scenario, which specifies the smuggler’s origin and destination, the nature of the material being smuggled, the manner in which it is shielded, and the mechanism by which the smuggler will select a route. The interdictor’s goal is to minimize the probability the smuggler avoids detection. The performance of the detection equipment depends on the material being sensed, geometric attenuation, shielding, cargo and container type, background, time allotted for sensing and a number of other factors. Using a stochastic radiation transport code (MCNPX), we estimate detection probabilities for a specific set of such parameters, and inform the interdiction model with these estimates.


Nedialko B. Dimitrov, Dennis P. Michalopoulos, David P. Morton, Michael V. Nehme, Feng Pan, Elmira Popova, Erich A. Schneider, and Gregory G. Thoreson. Network Deployment of Radiation Detectors with Physics-Based Detection Probability Calculations. Annals of Operations Research, in press, December 2009, doi:10.1007/s10479-009-0677-2

N. Dimitrov, M. A. Gonzalez, D. P. Michalopoulos, D. P. Morton, M. Nehme, F. Pan, E. Popova, K. J. Seagar, E. Schnider, and G. Thoreson. Interdiction of Smuggled Nuclear Material. Proceedings of the American Nuclear Society 2008 Winter Meeting, November, 2008

Nedialko B. Dimitrov, Marc A. Gonzalez, Dennis P. Michalopoulos, David P. Morton, Michael V. Nehme, Elmira Popova, Erich A. Schneider and Gregory G. Thoreson. Interdiction Modeling For Smuggled Nuclear Material. Proceedings of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, July, 2008

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