Izvestia Vysshikh Uchebnykh Zawedeniy. Yadernaya Energetika

The peer-reviewed scientific and technology journal. ISSN: 0204-3327

Quantitative evaluation of plutonium proliferation protection

6/22/2018 2018 - #02 Physics and technology of nuclear reactors

Kulikov E.G. Kulikov G.G. Apse V.A. Shmelev A.N. Geraskin N.I.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2018.2.04

UDC: 621.039.58

Mathematical model developed in the article [1] could be applied for quantitative evaluation of plutonium proliferation protection. One should analyze warm up process of nuclear explosive devices (NEDs) of a different structure under various conditions of artificial heat removal and define the case with the longest lifetime of NED. Content of 238Pu in plutonium, which provides a short enough lifetime of NED even in this most dangerous case, could be regarded as sufficient for protection from plutonium proliferation.

The aim of the work consisted in performing quantitative evaluation of 238Pu content in plutonium to guarantee its proliferation protection as well as defining factors which strongly affect such an evaluation.

During implementation of the work we have used input data, methodology and main results of the previous works on this topic as well as our own evaluations and results of numerical analyses.

We obtained the following results. 1. Important factors are technology level of NED and required lifetime of the device. 2. Depending on the required lifetime of NED more stringent requirements for 238Pu content in plutonium could be laid down in cases of both high and low technology levels of NED.

General conclusion. It has been demonstrated that plutonium can be considered as a proliferation protected material if it contains at least 55% 238Pu (implosion type NED on its basis is functional less than 5 hours – it is unlikely that in such a short time it is possible to assemble and transport NED).


  1. Kulikov E.G, Kulikov G.G., Apse V.A., Shmelev A.N., Geraskin N.I. Calculational model and physical and technical factors that determine plutonium proliferation protection. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika. 2018, no. 1, pp. 23-32.
  2. Carson Mark J. Explosive Properties of Reactor-Grade Plutonium. Science & Global Security, 1993, v. 4, pp. 111-128, 1993.
  3. Massey J.V., Schneider A. The Role of Plutonium-238 in Nuclear Fuel Cycles. Nuclear Technology, 1982, v. 56.
  4. De Volpi A. Denaturing Fissile Materials. Progress in Nuclear Energy. 1982, v. 10, no. 2, pp. 161-220.
  5. Heising-Goodman C.D. An Evaluation of the Plutonium Denaturing Concept as an Effective Safeguards Method. Nuclear Technology. 1980, v. 50, pp. 242-251.
  6. Kessler G. Plutonium Denaturing by 238Pu. Nuclear Science and Engineering, 2007, v. 155, pp. 53-73.
  7. Kessler G., Chen X.-N. Thermal Analysis of Hypothetical Nuclear Explosive Devices Containing Reactor-grade Plutonium with Higher Content of Pu-238. Obninsk workshop, 29 September – 3 October 2008.
  8. Kessler G. Proliferation-Proof Uranium/Plutonium Fuel Cycles. Safeguards and Non-Proliferation. Germany. KIT Scientific Publishing, 2011.
  9. TATB – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TATB (accessed 27 Oct. 2017).
  10. Mulford R.N., Romero J.A. Sensitivity of the TATB-based explosive PBX-9502 after thermal expansion. AIP Conf. Proc. 429, 1998.
  11. Arjun Singh, Mahesh Kumar, Pramod Soni, Manjit Singh, Alok Srivastava. Mechanical and Explosive Properties of Plastic Bonded Explosives Based on Mixture of HMX and TATB. Defence Science Journal, 2013, v. 63, no. 6, pp. 622-629.
  12. Hollowell B.C., Gustavsen R.L., Dattelbaum D.M., Bartram B.D. Shock initiation of the TATB-based explosive PBX 9502 cooled to 77 Kelvin. Journal of Physics Conference Series. 2014, v. 500, no. 18.
  13. Kulikov E., Shmelev А., Apse V., Kulikov G. Calculational models for quantitative evaluation of proliferation protection for fissionable materials. Izvestia vysshikh uchebnykh zavedenij. Yadernaya energetika. 2010, no. 2, pp. 184-195.
  14. Kulikov E., Shmelev A., Apse V., Kulikov G. Mathematical models for quantitative evaluation of fissionable materials proliferation protection. American Nuclear Society - IV Topical Meeting on Advances in Nuclear Fuel Management 2009 (ANFM IV). Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA, April 12-15, 2009.
  15. Plutonium. Fundamental problems. Vol. 1. Sarov. RFNC-VNIIEF Publ., 2003.
  16. Plutonium. Fundamental problems. Vol. 2. Sarov, RFNC-VNIIEF Publ., 2003.
  17. Papadopoulos A.M. State of the art in thermal insulation materials and aims for future developments. Energy and Buildings, 2005, v. 37, pp. 77-86.
  18. Aerogel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Aerogel (accessed 22 Oct. 2016).
  19. Jyoti L. Gurav, In-Keun Jung, Hyung-Ho Park, Eul Son Kang, Digambar Y. Nadargi. Silica Aerogel: Synthesis and Applications. Hindawi Publishing Corporation, Journal of Nanomaterials, Volume 2010, Article ID 409310.
  20. Ayers Michael R., Hunt Arlon J. Synthesis and properties of chitosan–silica hybrid aerogels. Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 2001, no. 1-3, pp. 123-127.
  21. Rao A. Parvathy, Rao A. Venkateswara, Bangi Uzma K. H. Low thermalconductive, transparent and hydrophobic ambient pressure dried silica aerogels with various preparation conditions using sodium silicate solutions. Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology, 2008, no. 1, pp. 85-94.
  22. IAEA Safeguards Glossary. 2001 Edition. International Nuclear Verification Series No. 3. Vienna. International Atomic Energy Agency, 2002.

plutonium plutonium 238 proliferation protection nuclear explosive device chemical explosive cryogenic temperatures