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​Program Goal:

The Advanced Reactor Safeguards program area in DOE NE seeks to remove safeguards and security roadblocks for domestic deployment of advanced nuclear reactors. We apply laboratory R&D to address near term challenges the vendors face in meeting Physical Protection System (PPS) and Material Control and Accounting (MC&A) requirements for U.S. construction.

Point of Contact: Ben Cipiti, National Technical Director,
Key Thrust Areas:

1.​ ​Deve​lop Robust and Cost-Appropriate Physical Protection Systems
​Security costs for nuclear reactors can be significant if not considered early in the design process. Research is examining alternative PPS approaches that reduce ​the ​number of on-site responders; new detection, delay, and response tech​nologies; and the interface between safety and security
​​Recent Reports:
U.S. Domestic Microreactor Security-by-Design
U.S. Domestic Pebble Bed Reactor: Security-by-Design​
U.S. Domestic Small Modular Reactor Security by Design

2. Evaluate MC&A Approaches for Pebble Bed Reactors
​The use of pebble-based fuel presents some MC&A differences as compared to fixed assemblies. Research is examining an overall MC&A approach, the use of batch tracking technologies, and pebble burnup measurements.
Recent Reports:
Use Machine Learning to Improve Burnup Measurement in Pebble Bed Reactors
Nuclear Material Control and Accountancy Approach for Pebble Fueled Reactors using a Novel Pebble-Type Identification and Classification Technology
Pebble Bed Reactor Domestic Safeguards - FY21 Summary Report​

3. ​Evaluate Licensing Strategies for Microreactors​
​Microreactors present PPS and MC&A challenges due to their small size. Research is focusing on developing optimal protection systems and evaluating impacts of autonomous operation.

​​4. ​Evaluate MC&A Approaches for Molten Salt Reactors
​Liquid fueled molten salt reactors are unique in that the fuel is in bulk, as opposed to item form. Research is examining the overall MC&A approach, measurements technologies for actinides in molten salts, and statistical challenges.
​Recent Reports:
​Experimental Validation of Nondestructive Assay Capabilities for Molten Salt Reactor Safeguards - FY21 Report
On-line Monitoring for Molten Salt Reactor MC&A: Optical Spectroscopy-Based Approaches​
MC&A for MSRs: FY021 Report
​5. Consider International Safeguards and Security Requirements
​Although the ARS program is focused on domestic regulations, vendors should consider international safeguards and security when d​esigning to meet the domestic regulations. The ARS program partners with NNSA to support vendors with international deployment.

Recent Reports:
Advanced Reactor Safeguards: Lessons from the IAEA Safeguards Domain
The NEXUS site provides resources for international safeguards and security support for advanced reactors.​​