Development of a Rover for Autonomous Imaging and Identification of Nuclear Material

Catherine Ballard - Univerity Of Michigan
Stefano Marin - Univerity Of Michigan
Ricardo Lopez - University of Michigan
Shaun Clarke - University of Michigan
Sara Pozzi - University of Michigan

The global proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear material has highlighted the importance of controlling special nuclear material. In situations where human inspection is not possible, such as continuous monitoring and in inaccessible areas, remote techniques are necessary to ensure safety and security. Recently, our group has developed the H2DPI system that can accurately image radioactive sources using a combination of neutron and gamma ray coincidence measurements. The system can accurately predict the direction of a radiation source but it has low absolute efficiency. Development of a robotic platform for the system could improve its overall performance through movement in known source directions. This system will ideally have the capability to hold the H2DPI system allowing it to move closer to the source while collecting data. This will reduce the measurement time needed to get a precise and accurate characterization of the source and will allow sources to be imaged in three dimensions. Currently, the outer hardware of the robotics platform is built and we are working on precisely narrowing down its autonomous movement capabilities. We will present the initial design of the hardware as well as a demonstration of the movement capabilities. We will also present MCNPX-PoliMi results for various source and detector configurations. These simulations are being used to determine the optimal paths for locating unknown sources.