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Lab researchers create tool to monitor nuclear reactors

This is Science Today. International inspectors may have a new tool to monitor nuclear reactors for nonproliferation purposes thanks to an antineutrino detector created by a team of researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Adam Bernstein is the leader of the Lab's Advanced Detector's Group.

Bernstein:       What we wanted to do is show that with a very simple device you could still measure the antineutrinos that come out of reactors and make use of that information for reactor monitoring.

Narrator:        Bernstein explains that antineutrinos are elusive, neutral particles produced in huge numbers in nuclear reactors and they stream out in all directions.

Bernstein:       They're very penetrating particles, so they have this unusual property that they can actually penetrate the Earth without interacting very frequently. So, that's a very interesting property from the point of view of monitoring reactors because it means information is carried out of the reactor that we can access.

Narrator:        The new detector can operate unattended for long periods of time, does not affect plant operations and data can be collected remotely in real time. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.