INL’s nonproliferation research and development supports U.S. efforts to identify and secure nuclear materials and other weapons of mass destruction to prevent use by terrorists.
Our scientists have developed technologies and sensor systems to detect, identify and prevent the spread of nuclear, chemical, explosive and biological weapons. We provide key support to NNSA and its Global Threat Reduction Initiative with repatriation of Russian fuel, and by developing and converting research reactors to low enriched uranium fuels. We participate in DOE’s Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention, employing former Soviet Union scientists who had previously worked on weapons-type research to develop technologies addressing national and international problems.
Additionally, we provide instructional and hands-on nuclear material protection, control and accountability and emergency management training to personnel responsible for security at commercial nuclear reactors, research reactors and facilities worldwide.
Our award-winning technologies include the Portable Isotopic Neutron Spectroscopy (PINS), a field non-destructive evaluation tool to identify the contents of munitions and chemical storage containers safely and reliably. Originally developed for use by the U.S. Army to identify chemical warfare agents within stockpiled or non-stockpile munitions, PINS has also shown remarkable value in environmental applications where it is used to identify or confirm contents of potentially hazardous contains. PINS - a 1992 R&D 100 award winner - can detect chemical weapons agents, explosives and hazardous materials in typical assay times of 100 to 1000 seconds.
Using accelerator technology, our scientists have developed a method to identify nuclear material in various shielded configurations. Our process can differentiate between legally shipped medical, commercial and research isotopes and smuggled weapons-grade uranium. We are working with a commercial firm to test the system at a U.S. point-of-entry. In addition to detecting nuclear materials, this technology has been adapted to detect explosives.
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