Berkeley Lab

ATAP’s Bernhard Ludewigt Named in Secretary of Energy’s Achievement Award

— Member of team studying nondestructive assay of spent fuel

Bernhard Ludewigt

Bernhard Ludewigt of ATAP’s Ion Beam Technology Program is part of a team that won a Secretary of Energy’s Achievement Award for work on nondestructive assay of spent nuclear fuel in support of nuclear safeguards and nonproliferation.

The awards formally recognize the outstanding achievements of individuals and teams who have gone above and beyond in fulfilling the Department’s mission and serving the Nation, and are bestowed upon groups or teams of DOE employees and contractors who together accomplished significant achievements on behalf of the Department. Twenty-four teams were honored in this manner in 2020.

The award was given to the Spent Fuel Nondestructive Assay (NDA) Project Team. The 57-member team, led by Holly Trellue of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, drew upon experts at eight of the DOE national laboratories.

Bernhard’s contributions included the investigation of neutron generators and their application to nondestructive assay, as well as a study, “Nuclear Resonance Fluorescence for Pu Mass Determination in Spent Fuel,” conducted jointly with Brian Quiter, deputy head of the Applied Nuclear Physics Program in the Lab’s Nuclear Science Division. Bernhard also engaged in a delayed-gamma study, with colleagues from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, that he later headed as a separate project.

In recognition of the successful completion of the Spent Fuel Nondestructive Assay (NDA) Project. A grand challenge in the safeguarding of nuclear material is characterizing commercial spent fuel assemblies. These assemblies are not only extremely radioactive and require large instrumentation to handle, but they are also associated with complex operating histories. The multi-Laboratory Spent Fuel NDA Team, together with international partners, made key technical and programmatic contributions to this important nuclear safeguards challenge by researching 14 possible techniques, then building, field testing, and analyzing results from a series of major nondestructive assay instruments through measurement campaigns at foreign partner facilities. Results from this project greatly improved previous technical understanding of the viability of various neutron and gamma measurement approaches for characterizing properties of Light Water Reactor spent fuel for nuclear safeguards purposes. The team successfully completed this extremely challenging nonproliferation effort because of their innovative thinking, complementary technical skills, on-the-spot problem solving, and exceptional dedication.