Nuclear Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-27-2020


A new reactor model of the Washington State University TRIGA was developed in the SCALE neutron transport code, and its fidelity was verified by comparison to MCNP and available data for several reactor parameters. The model was used to characterize irradiations designed to produce the short-lived actinides 237U and 239U, two key isotopes for nuclear forensics. These short-lived actinides, their decay daughters 237Np and 239Pu, and total fissions (via 99Mo) were measured in irradiated foils at Los Alamos National Laboratory and other labs with good agreement among parent/daughter pairs and among labs. The laboratory-measured isotope ratios were used as a benchmark for the model determination of reaction rates. The flux distribution in the foils was also determined. Finally, using the continuous energy TSUNAMI-3D module of SCALE, a sensitivity/uncertainty analysis was performed to determine the effects on foil reactions caused by other system-wide reactions and by uncertainties in the known cross-sections.


nuclear forensics, short-lived actinide, radiochemistry, sensitivity analysis, uncertainty analysis, MCNP


Los Alamos National Laboratory

Document Type




Degree Name

Nuclear Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Nuclear Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Christopher Perfetti

Second Committee Member

Anil Prinja

Third Committee Member

Robert Busch