August 2, 2019 at 3:01 pm

Physics Colloquium | Reactor Neutrinos: Tool for Science and Security, Sept. 6

The Physics & Astronomy Colloquium Series presents Patrick Huber, of  Virginia Tech, on “Reactor Neutrinos: Tool for Science and Security”, on Friday, Sept. 6, at 4:10 p.m. in Clippinger Labs 194.

Patrick Huber

Patrick Huber

Abstract: Nuclear reactors are the brightest terrestrial neutrino source and have been the workhorse of neutrino physics since the discovery of the neutrino.  The past decade has seen a significant increase in the interest in reactor neutrinos, thanks to the theta-13 experiments and the search for sterile neutrinos. I will briefly review how reactors produce neutrinos and how attempts to improve our understanding of the neutrino flux lead to reactor antineutrino rate anomaly. By now, we also understand that there are interesting features in the neutrino spectrum and I will try to put all these anomalies into the context of light sterile neutrinos.

In the 1970s Lev Mikaelyan realized that neutrinos also can be used to learn about the internal state of a nuclear reactor for nuclear security applications. With the 2018 results from the PROSPECT, CHANDLER and other experiment, for the first time, a real world capability exists. I will discuss recent case studies of applications to nuclear security in the context of the now moribund Iran nuclear deal and a potential future use in North Korea.

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