Resonance Absorption Densitometry for Materials Assay Security Safeguards (RADMASS)

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Fairfield, Connecticut
Project Term:
07/18/2022 - 07/17/2025

Critical Need:

The next generation of advanced nuclear reactors (ARs) is currently being developed to enhance the safety, reduce the cost, and increase the efficiency of nuclear power generation, which is important to meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals. Challenges associated with disposal pathways of waste, such as used nuclear fuel (UNF), however, threaten AR development and deployment. ONWARDS seeks to develop and demonstrate breakthrough technologies that will facilitate a 10x reduction in AR waste volume generation or repository footprint. In addition, ONWARDS aims to advance development of high-performance AR waste forms while maintaining exemplary safeguards standards and global back-end costs in the accepted range of $1/megawatt-hour.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

General Electric (GE) Global Research, with Lumitron Technologies and Idaho State University, will develop an innovative active interrogation technique, Resonance Absorption Densitometry for Materials Assay Security Safeguards (RADMASS), which can penetrate advanced reactor fuel (dense solid actinides) and measure fissile mass density (<1% uncertainty) on the order of minutes or less while being insensitive to high background radiation. This will enable measurements of both UNF input and transuranic/plutonium output, which are the largest factors in standard error in inventory differences within a pyroprocessing facility. The GRC team will use photonics and nuclear modeling and simulation to show proof of concept for the ability of RADMASS to operate in a high radiation nuclear fuel reprocessing hot cell (radiation containment chamber) facility.

Potential Impact:

By identifying and addressing challenges at the back end of the fuel cycle before the deployment of future AR technologies, ONWARDS will:


Support the growth of advanced nuclear energy with safe and sustainable domestic fuel stocks.


Play a vital role in significantly reducing GHG emissions, proactively mitigate the disposal impact of AR UNF with integrated non-proliferation safeguards, and provide transformative solutions to improve the management and disposal of radioactive waste and UNF.


Complement ARPA-E’s existing nuclear energy research portfolio, such as the MEITNER and GEMINA programs in AR R&D, further ensuring the commercial viability of innovative new ARs.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Robert Ledoux
Project Contact:
Andrew Hoffman
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Lumitron Technologies LLC
Idaho State University

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