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Nu Tools: Exploring Practical Roles for Neutrinos in Nuclear Energy and Security



Hans Pieter Mumm, Tomi Akindele, Nathaniel Bowden, Rachel Carr, Andrew Conant, Milind Diwan, Anna Erickson, Michael Foxe, Bethany Goldblum, Patrick Huber, Igor Jovanovic, Jonathan Link, Bryce Littlejohn, Jason Newby


For decades, physicists have used neutrinos from nuclear reactors to advance basic science. These pursuits have inspired many ideas for application of neutrino detectors in nuclear energy and security. While developments in neutrino detectors are now making some of these ideas technically feasible, their value in the context of real needs and constraints has been unclear. This report seeks to help focus the picture of where neutrino technology may find practical roles in nuclear energy and security. This report is the final product of the Nu Tools study, commissioned in 2019 by the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development (DNN R&D). The study was conducted over two years by a group of neutrino physicists and nuclear engineers. A central theme of the study and this report is that useful application of neutrinos will depend not only on advancing physics and technology but also on understanding the needs and constraints of potential end-users. The Study Approach emphasized broad end-user engagement. The major effort, undertaken from May to December 2020, was a series of engagements with the wider nuclear energy and security communities. Interviews with 41 experts revealed points of common understanding, which this report captures in three Cross Cutting Findings, a Framework for Evaluating Utility, and seven Use Case Findings. The report concludes with two Recommendations. The findings and recommendations are summarized below. The respective ordering within each category does not represent a prioritization or implied value judgement.


reactor neutrinos, safeguards, nuclear security and energy


Mumm, H. , Akindele, T. , Bowden, N. , Carr, R. , Conant, A. , Diwan, M. , Erickson, A. , Foxe, M. , Goldblum, B. , Huber, P. , Jovanovic, I. , Link, J. , Littlejohn, B. and Newby, J. (2021), Nu Tools: Exploring Practical Roles for Neutrinos in Nuclear Energy and Security,, [online],,, (Accessed May 26, 2024)


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Created December 21, 2021, Updated November 29, 2022