Thomas W. Wood, Bruce D. Reid, Christopher M. Toomey, Kannan Krishnaswami, Kimberly A. Burns, Larry O. Casazza, Don S. Daly, Leesa L. Duckworth, "The Future of Nuclear Archaeology: Reducing Legacy Risks of Weapons Fissile Material," Science & Global Security 22, no. 1 (2014): 4-26
This report describes the value proposition for a "nuclear archaeological" technical capability and applications program, targeted at resolving uncertainties regarding weapons fissile materials production and use. Central to this proposition is the notion that one can never be sure that all fissile material is adequately secure without a clear idea of what ?all? means, and that uncertainty in this matter carries risk. We argue that this proposition is as valid today, under emerging state and possible non-state nuclear threats, as it was in an immediate post-Cold-War context, and describe how nuclear archaeological methods can be used to verify fissile materials declarations, or estimate and characterize historical fissile materials production independent of declarations. Methods for accurately estimating plutonium production from graphite reactors have been demonstrated and could be extended to other reactor types. Proposed techniques for estimating HEU production have shown promise and are under development.