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Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations
Volume 2017, Article ID 2679243, 16 pages
Research Article

Comprehensive Uncertainty Quantification in Nuclear Safeguards

1SGIM/Nuclear Fuel Cycle Information Analysis, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria
2International Safeguards, Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Jülich, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to T. Burr; gro.aeai@rrub.t

Received 12 March 2017; Accepted 13 June 2017; Published 12 September 2017

Academic Editor: Oleg Melikhov

Copyright © 2017 E. Bonner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nuclear safeguards aim to confirm that nuclear materials and activities are used for peaceful purposes. To ensure that States are honoring their safeguards obligations, quantitative conclusions regarding nuclear material inventories and transfers are needed. Statistical analyses used to support these conclusions require uncertainty quantification (UQ), usually by estimating the relative standard deviation (RSD) in random and systematic errors associated with each measurement method. This paper has two main components. First, it reviews why UQ is needed in nuclear safeguards and examines recent efforts to improve both top-down (empirical) UQ and bottom-up (first-principles) UQ for calibration data. Second, simulation is used to evaluate the impact of uncertainty in measurement error RSDs on estimated nuclear material loss detection probabilities in sequences of measured material balances.