Introducing a Digitized IAEA Acquisition Path Analyses: From U-Mining to 1SQ Production in a Graphite-pile Reactor

John Koudelka - Idaho National Laboratory (INL) BEA
Xingyue Yang - Idaho National Laboratory (INL) BEA
Porter Zohner - Idaho National Laboratory (INL) BEA
Gustavo Reyes - Idaho National Laboratory (INL) BEA
Rajiv Khadka - Idaho National Laboratory (INL) BEA

As part of IAEA’s Acquisition Pathway Analysis (APA) process, a State Level Approach is developed for each State establishing the frequency and intensity of inspections and DIVs at declared facilities, and possible complementary access activities tailored to detect undeclared nuclear material and activities in the State. In accordance with IAEA’s Support Program document STR-393, the agency has requested the development of a set of reference materials to assist State evaluation groups (SEGs) in their assessment of a State’s capability to complete the required acquisition path steps with the aim of acquiring at least one significant quantity (SQ) of HEU or Pu metal. Since 2019, INL has generated such reference documents for the plutonium pathway using the nuclear fuel cycle steps mining/milling, conversion, fuel fabrication, and natural uranium graphite or heavy water reactor construction and operation, ultimately yielding one SQ of Pu. This project “digitizes” these reference documents to provide a holistic APA visualization capability to the IAEA inspector. As a follow-on effort, it is envisioned that this digitized capability will enable the adoption of “Digitally Twinned” processes (already underway at INL), further providing the inspector an enhanced safeguards implementation and evaluation capability.