National Nuclear Security Administration

IAEA installs high-tech replacement seals at NNSA site to enhance nuclear material monitoring

November 16, 2016

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A Remote Monitoring Seal Array (RMSA) unit

Working with the Department of Energy, NNSA recently supported the safeguards mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the Savannah River Site’s K-Area Material Storage facility.

Last month, the IAEA replaced 258 legacy T-1 seals, which, for more than a decade provided the IAEA with continuity-of-knowledge over the peaceful application of stored surplus plutonium oxide, with remote monitoring seal array (RMSA) units. Developed by Sandia National Laboratories in conjunction with the IAEA, the new units are radio frequency active seals with encryption capabilities. In addition, RMSAs have twice the battery life of the T-1 seals and improve data fidelity.

The K-Area Material Storage facility is the first location where RMSAs have been installed to monitor nuclear material under safeguards. Their installation will improve the efficiency of IAEA safeguards in the United States and serve as a demonstration project to enable their wider use by the IAEA.

Providing technical expertise for RMSA development and supporting this installation at the Savannah River facility are prime examples of the work NNSA conducts to advance IAEA safeguards.