Ghostly neutrino will be able to identify clandestine nuclear tests

States that want to conduct secret testing of nuclear weapons one day will be revealed with the help of an antineutrino. Nuclear explosions emit huge quantity of light of sub-atomic particles can travel great distance through the Earth. In General, these particles have antimatter counterparts of neutrinos — are incredibly difficult to detect. But a large neutrino detector located a few hundred kilometers from a powerful nuclear explosion, I can see a handful of particles, the scientists reported in an article in Physical Review Applied.

The antineutrino detector will not be able to detect the explosion itself, but with the sensors pick up seismic activity, which initiate the search of particles coming from the scene of the alleged explosion. This is a “very clever idea,” says physicist Patrick Huber from the University of Virginia Blacksburg.

How to detect secret nuclear test?

A global network of sensors is already collecting information on nuclear explosions, tracking seismic activity, and radioactive isotopes. In recent years these sensors have revealed details of the North Korean nuclear test, conducted underground.

But if these sensors are unable to confirm that there was a nuclear explosion, the detection of antineutrinos will eliminate the remaining question, says study co-author and physicist Adam Bernstein National laboratory Lawrence Livermore in California. “If you see a surge of anti-neutrino, another reason to not be,” he says, of course, if it’s not an explosion of stars in the milky Way. But such explosions are a rare event, moreover, does not coincide with the seismic signature.

Although secretive bomb makers can hide radioactive isotopes after the explosion or to mask the seismic signals, no way to hide the antineutrinos they have. Neutrinos can also provide information about how powerful was the explosion and what type of nuclear weapons were used.

However, none of the existing antineutrino detectors is not large enough and is close enough to North Korea to observe the test. One of the biggest is the detector Super-Kamiokande, located in the mine in Hida, Japan. It is filled with 50,000 tons of water and sensors that detect the light produced in the interaction of antineutrinos with water. If you locate it 100 kilometers from the site of nuclear testing, the detector can detect 250-kiloton explosion.

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