Muon Tomography for Security Applications
C. Steer, S. Quillin, and J. Burns
Atomic Weapons Establishment (UK)
This talk will report an overview of current progress in the area of cosmic ray muon scattering tomography (MST) to infer measurements of material properties for nuclear security-related applications.
MST measures the trajectories of naturally-occurring cosmic ray muons before and after they pass through an object or container to be imaged. Cosmic ray muons interact through multiple Coulomb scattering primarily, in which higher atomic number materials are more likely to cause larger cosmic ray scattering angles. The 3D trajectory and scattering data from many cosmic ray trajectories can be used to infer a tomographic image of spatial distribution of object’s scattering density.
The MST technique occupies an important niche as a passive imaging technique for very thick objects or structures. Consequently, ours and the wider community’s efforts have been directed at a number of areas including shielded special nuclear material detection for border security, legacy nuclear waste characterisation to improve disposal routes, reactor imaging for core characterisation, and evaluation of non-destructive component imaging for treaty verification purposes, amongst others. In particular, this talk will report on the scientific efforts supporting AWE/MoD/HO/DNDO collaborative activities in the area of border security.