Consortium for Monitoring, Technology, and Verification (MTV)

Lead PI: Goran Ekstrom

Unit Affiliation: Seismology, Geology and Tectonophysics, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO)

May 2019 - September 2021
North America ; Ann Arbor, MI
Project Type: Outreach Education

DESCRIPTION: The MTV’s mission is to develop new technologies that detect and deter nuclear proliferation activities and to train the next generation of nuclear professionals.

Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons is one of the central challenges facing our society today. The development of a nuclear weapons program by a state actor, or the acquisition of a nuclear device by a rogue organization, has the potential for creating domestic unrest, political instability, and economic disruption on the national and global scale. The use of a nuclear device in a conflict or as an instrument of terror would carry dire humanitarian, desperate societal, and extreme geopolitical, consequences. Therefore, efforts are urgently needed to ensure the timely detection and understanding of the signatures of nuclear proliferation, including detection and characterization of fissile material at all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle. Should a nuclear event occur, robust analytical tools are essential for timely and accurate detection and characterization of the event for the ensuing consequence management, attribution, and remediation.

Our Consortium for Monitoring, Technology, and Verification will address these challenges, and significantly advance the national capability to detect and characterize foreign nuclear weapons development programs and detect activities not in compliance with current treaty obligations. We will address gaps and challenges in the technologies needed to monitor and verify nuclear capabilities around the world by executing research projects in close collaboration with the national laboratories. Our effort will be focused on three technical thrust areas: (i) fundamentals of nuclear and particle physics, (ii) signals and source terms for nuclear nonproliferation, and (iii) nuclear explosion monitoring. Cross-cutting areas of MTV will include: (1) modeling and simulation, (2) nuclear policy, and (3) education and outreach.