Electron antineutrinos are produced in nuclear beta decay, and thus, any large mass of radioactive material will emit a copious amount of antineutrinos. At the same time, neutrinos thanks to their weak interaction strength have an unusual penetration capability and thus can pass through whole starts and planets without being attenuated. One example for an application which stems from these unique properties are so-called geoneutrinos which are produced in the radioactive decays of the uranium and thorium contained in the Earth crust and mantle. Another example are nuclear reactors, the strongest man-made neutrino source. Neutrinos have in fact been discovered using reactor antineutrinos.
The basic concept of monitoring nuclear reactors using antineutrinos was proposed by Borovoi and Mikaelyan in 1978. More recently, there has been an effort to assess the possibility to accurately determine the plutonium content in a reactor core using antineutrino measurements. If confirmed, such ability could open the development of antineutrino detection based reactor safeguards.
Based on the unique expertise our group has in reactor antineutrinos fluxes, statistical data analysis and detector simulations we study potential applications and use cases based on realistic boundary conditions. Projects include
- Antineutrino reactor monitoring in the DPRK (eprint)
- Antineutrino reactor monitoring in Iran (eprint)
- Detection of Breeding Blankets Using Antineutrinos and coherent neutrino nucleus scattering (doi)
- Antineutrino monitoring of spent nuclear fuel (eprint)
- Antineutrino reactor monitoring as verification method in plutonium disposition (eprint)