Nuclear Science for National Security Applications

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SPEAKER:
BETHANY GOLDBLUM
DATE/TIME:
MON, 04/20/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
via ZOOM
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

While the probability of nuclear exchange may be low, the consequences are undeniably grave. My research focuses on methods to improve nuclear security and nonproliferation while advancing technically-sound policies. Via a series of vignettes, I discuss the three main themes of my research—policy-relevant inquiry, data analytics, and applied nuclear physics. First, the planned deployment of new types of nuclear warheads raises questions concerning whether these capabilities alter the threshold for nuclear use—questions that lack the observational data needed to answer them. I provide an introduction to experimental wargaming as a data-generating process, an overview of the SIGNAL wargame, and preliminary results exploring how military capabilities affect the nuclear threshold. Second, recent progress in the development of multi-sensors has opened opportunities for indirect physical sensing of proliferation-relevant phenomena. Using supervised learning and a multisensor network, I demonstrate the classification of nuclear facility operations and explore methods for the transferability of machine learning models. Finally, at the very heart of effective nuclear security is a deep understanding of fundamental nuclear physics. At the 88-Inch Cyclotron at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, my team demonstrated a new method for determining the proton light yield of organic scintillators, a property fundamental to the understanding of their fast neutron response. Our approach has been applied to determine the properties of organic scintillators for use in spectroscopic systems, fast neutron imagers,
and basic nuclear physics. This work represents a concerted effort at the nexus of science, technology, and policy to reduce the risks posed by nuclear weapons.

About the Speaker:
Dr. Bethany Goldblum is an Associate Research Engineer in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley and Executive Director of the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium, a multi-institution initiative established by the National Nuclear Security Administration to train the next generation of nuclear security experts. Her research explores fundamental and applied nuclear physics, proliferation detection, and nuclear weapons policy. Goldblum leads the Bay Area Neutron Group, a research team focused on neutron detection for nuclear security applications, and founded and directs the Nuclear Policy Working Group, an interdisciplinary team of scholars developing policy solutions to strengthen global nuclear security. She has been involved with the Public Policy and Nuclear Threats Boot Camp nearly since its inception, and acted as director of the program since 2014. Goldblum maintains active collaborations with the US DOE National Laboratories, and is an affiliate at Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, and Sandia National Laboratories. She is the author of more than 70 publications on nuclear science and policy issues. Goldblum received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

What sounds scary vs what actually matters: risk perspectives for nuclear waste and contamination (and possibly coronavirus)

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SPEAKER:
HARUKO WAINWRIGHT
DATE/TIME:
MON, 04/13/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
via ZOOM
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series
Abstract:Environmental concerns – mainly associated with nuclear waste and nuclear accidents – have been one of the biggest bottlenecks for nuclear energy. At the same time, the society has been struggling to assess these risks relative to other hazardous waste, other pollution and climate change. In the US, there are more than a hundred sites used for nuclear weapon production, most of which still have significant radiological contamination in soil and groundwater. With more than thirty years of characterization and remediation activities, these sites offer significant insights on environmental mobilities of radionuclides and their impacts on the environment and public health. For example, relative risks/importance among different radionuclides and other heavy metals have been assessed at many sites.

In parallel, environmental remediation has been evolving over the last thirty years. The current focus is to use more sustainable methods such as passive treatments and monitored natural attenuation, after recognizing that clean-up activities have some side effects and risks such as ecological disturbances, intensive energy uses, CO2/waste production and air pollution. We are developing technologies to support such sustainable remediation based on new sensors, machine learning and numerical modeling of radionuclide migration. The particular focus is to develop a new paradigm of long-term monitoring strategies including early warning systems and monitoring network optimization. We have demonstrated these approaches at the Savannah River Site and the region around the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.

About the Speaker:
Haruko is a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She earned master in nuclear engineering and statistics, and PhD in nuclear engineering at University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on hydrological modeling, spatial statistics, data integration, and uncertainty quantification. She has worked on various research topics in both nuclear engineering and environmental sciences, including nuclear waste, groundwater contamination, Fukushima radiation monitoring, and climate change impacts on ecosystems.

Kairos Power: From University Conception to Mission-Driven Start-Up

Ed Blandford CTO
SPEAKER:
EDWARD BLANDFORD
DATE/TIME:
MON, 04/06/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
via ZOOM
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Fluoride-salt cooled, high-temperature reactors (FHRs) combine existing technologies in a novel way, using high-temperature fuels from gas-cooled reactors with a low-pressure molten salt coolant.  In the last decade, U.S. national laboratories and universities have addressed key scientific and technical questions for the licensing and deployment of FHRs, and have developed pre-conceptual FHR designs with different fuel geometries, core configurations, heat transport system configurations, power cycles, and power levels.  Founded in 2016, Kairos Power, a mission-driven engineering company based in California, has built on the foundation laid by the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored university Integrated Research Projects to design, license, and demonstrate the KP-FHR.  This talk overviews the history of FHR technology and the major role played by universities, as well as Kairos Power’s mission to enable the world’s transition to clean energy.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Edward Blandford is a Co-Founder & CTO of Kairos Power. He is responsible for technology development, experimental testing, modeling and simulation, and process engineering activities at Kairos Power. Prior to co-founding Kairos Power, he was at the University of New Mexico where he was an assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear Engineering. Dr. Blandford was also a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. He also worked for several years as a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute focusing on steam generator thermal-hydraulics and material degradation management. Dr. Blandford has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Smart use of ionizing radiation in biomedical imaging

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SPEAKER:
YOUNGHO SEO
DATE/TIME:
MON, 03/30/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
via ZOOM
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Biomedical imaging modalities that rely on x-ray and gamma-ray interactions in biological objects and radiation detectors present potential risk of radiation-related complications. In many cases, imaging using ionizing radiation is essential to detect and monitor human diseases; however there is no established consensus about how to maximize the use of ionizing radiation. Smart use of ionizing radiation in biomedical imaging is enabled by advancing hardware and software solutions, extracting the most out of acquired images, and re-using/re-purposing already acquired images. In this talk, I will discuss general concepts of each area, and past and ongoing research efforts of my research group.

About the Speaker:

Youngho Seo, PhD, is a Professor and Director of Nuclear Imaging Physics in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Faculty Affiliate at the Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute, Program Member of Pediatric Malignancies and Prostate Cancer programs at the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF, Faculty of the UC Berkeley - UCSF Bioengineering Graduate Program, and Physicist Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Dr. Seo leads a group of physicists and engineers working in the field of radionuclide and x-ray imaging instrumentation and physics, and directs the UCSF Physics Research Laboratory and the microPET/CT, microSPECT/CT, and optical imaging core facility. His primary research focus is to use quantitative SPECT/CT, PET/CT, and PET/MR molecular imaging tools for a broad range of research areas from small animal imaging using dedicated animal imaging systems and basic instrumentation hardware and software development to physics analysis of clinical imaging data.

Nuclear Engineering to Make a Difference

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SPEAKER:
RACHEL SLAYBAUGH
DATE/TIME:
MON, 03/09/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

We all (I hope) want to use our careers to make a difference. This talk will walk through one example of how that might look and lead into a broader discussion of how one could use a highly technical nuclear engineering education to have an impact. I’ll talk a bit about computational neutronics, nuclear innovation, and government in particular. I’ll also talk about what students can think about and do as they frame their own path to fulfill their own goals.

About the Speaker:

Prof. Slaybaugh researches computational methods applied to nuclear reactors, nuclear non-proliferation and security, and shielding. Slaybaugh is currently serving as a Program Director at ARPA-E. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Breakthrough Institute and at the Berkeley Institute of Data Science. Slaybaugh received a BS in Nuclear Engineering from Penn State, where she served as a licensed nuclear reactor operator, and a PhD from University of Wisconsin–Madison in Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics with a certificate in Energy Analysis and Policy. Slaybaugh’s Rickover Fellowship took her to Naval Nuclear Laboratory prior to joining Berkeley.

Using Data Competitions to Crowdsource Innovative Solutions to Urban Radiation Detection Problems

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SPEAKER:
CHRISTINE ANDERSON-COOK
DATE/TIME:
MON, 03/02/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series

Abstract:

In 2017 and 2018, NA-22 sponsored a project to host data competitions to solicit innovative solutions for urban radiation detection problems. A team from Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Berkeley National Laboratories fielded and hosted two competitions. The first was restricted to those with a government affiliation, while the second was hosted on Topcoder and was open to an international field of competitors. The competitors were asked to detect, identify and locate 6 different radioactive sources from simulated data that modeled a detector being driven down an urban street. A total of 87 competitors created over 2500 submissions across the two competitions. We will present a new methodology for creating the training and test data sets for the competition that thoroughly explores the diverse problems space considered. In addition, an extended post-competition analysis is able to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the winning algorithms and make detailed comparisons between competitors. A different version of the problem may want to emphasize aspects of the detect, identify and locate the problem for runs with sources and false positives for runs with no sources. Hence, multiple criterion optimization with Pareto fronts allows identification of top solutions for different combinations of the study objectives. Results from the two competitions will be presented and the solution with their improvement of currently used methods compared. 

About the Speaker:

Christine Anderson-Cook has been a Research Scientist in the Statistical Sciences Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory since 2004. She currently leads projects in the areas of sequential design of experiments, non-proliferation and effective hosting of data competitions. Before joining LANL, she was a faculty member in the Department of Statistics at Virginia Tech for 8 years. Her research areas include response surface methodology, design of experiments, reliability, multiple criterion optimization and graphical methods. She has authored more than 200 articles in statistics and quality peer-reviewed journals, and has been a long-time contributor to the Quality Progress Statistics Spotlight column. She has co-authored a popular book on Response Surface Methodology with Raymond Myers and Douglas Montgomery. She has served on the editorial boards of Technometrics, Journal of Quality Technology, Quality Engineering and Quality and Reliability Engineering InternationalShe is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association and the American Society for Quality. She is the recipient of the ASQ 2018 Shewhart Medal, the ASQ Statistics Division 2012 William G. Hunter Award, and a two-time recipient of the ASQ Shewell Award. In 2011 she received the 26th Annual Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women.

Application of Advanced Modeling and Simulation Tools to KP-FHR Licensing

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SPEAKER:
BRANDON HAUGH
DATE/TIME:
MON, 02/24/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Advanced modeling and simulation tools have been under development at national laboratories, universities and research institutes around the world.  These tools have progressed to a point where a new reactor type can benefit from them and shed the baggage of legacy tools.  The challenges are taking these tools that have been the primary focus of research and elevating them to a pedigree to license with a regulator.  These challenges vary by the tool but can be summarized in three general areas, Verification, Validation and Configuration Management.  These three areas require more significant rigor than was previously applied typical research work.  This talk will present some of the examples of how we are accomplishing this at Kairos.

About the Speaker:

Mr. Brandon Haugh is the Director, Modeling, and Simulation at Kairos Power. He is currently directing teams for the development of modeling and simulation tools for the Kairos Power Fluoride-Salt-Cooled High-Temperature Reactor (KP FHR). Development efforts are focused on system modeling, fuel performance, high-temperature materials and source term modeling for licensing and deployment of the KP FHR.

Previously, Mr. Haugh was Director, Innovation and Special Projects for Studsvik Scandpower Inc. with a focus on business development, licensing and deployment of LWR core design tools. Mr. Haugh also worked for NuScale Power, where he was the initial reactor physicist and helped originate the reactor analysis organization.

Mr. Haugh earned his M.S. at the Oregon State University in nuclear engineering in 2002. He is a member of the American Nuclear Society (ANS).  (https://www.linkedin.com/in/brandon-haugh-2279957)

Applied nuclear science and engineering at Los Alamos

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SPEAKER:
MARK CHADWICK
DATE/TIME:
MON, 02/10/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series
Co-hosted with NSSC
Abstract:

I will describe research at Los Alamos that is advancing our US nuclear technology capabilities. Some of the applied areas we are working on are described: stockpile stewardship, and nuclear threat reduction. Experimental and simulation work related to our LANSCE facility, and our work at Nevada, are discussed.

About the Speaker:

Mark Chadwick obtained his PhD from Oxford and has had a thirty year career at Los Alamos. He led the simulation code division (that includes the MCNP) and has led the DOE/NNSA Science Campaigns program that funds experimental work at LANL. He also leads  the multi-lab US collaboration effort on cross section evaluations for the ENDF (evaluated neutron data file) database. Chadwick is an APS Fellow and a Los Alamos Laboratory Fellow.

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Compact accelerators and photon sources using laser-driven plasma acceleration

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SPEAKER:
CARL B. SHROEDER
DATE/TIME:
MON, 01/27/2020 - 4:00PM TO 5:00PM
LOCATION:
3105 ETCHEVERRY HALL
Spring 2020 Colloquium Series
Abstract:

Plasma waves can support extremely large accelerating fields, several orders of magnitude greater than conventional accelerators. Hence they can provide a compact method of generating energetic charged particle beams.  Plasma waves suitable for particle acceleration may be resonantly excited using the radiation pressure from intense, high-power, ultrashort laser pulses.  Laser-driven plasma accelerator experiments at the BELLA (BErkeley Lab Laser Accelerator) Facility at LBNL have demonstrated electron beams accelerated to multi-GeV energies over cm-scale plasmas.  Compact electron beams at GeV energies are being used to develop novel compact photon sources, including free electron lasers and MeV photons from Thomson scattering.  In this talk I will review recent experimental progress in the field, the path to higher energies and higher beam brightness, as well as potential applications of plasma-based accelerator technology.

About the Speaker:

Carl B. Schroeder is a Senior Scientist in the Accelerator Technology & Applied Physics Division, and Deputy Director of the BELLA Center at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1999.  He then was a UCLA postdoctoral fellow, where his research focused on the development of x-ray free-electron lasers at SLAC.  He joined LBNL in 2001, where his chief research interests have been the development of advanced accelerator concepts, plasma-based accelerators, and novel radiation sources.  He received the 2010 APS Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research, and became a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2012.