Masters Theses

Orcid ID


Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Nuclear Engineering

Major Professor

Howard Hall

Committee Members

Lawrence Heilbronn, Jason Hayward


The establishment of uranium enrichment facilities is crucial to the development of a peaceful Nuclear Fuel Complex. However, as the industry moved from gaseous diffusion to gas centrifuge technology for increased performance and flexibility, conventional cascade analysis methodologies based on gaseous diffusion were found lacking. The establishment of NPACC under Dr. David Vermillion for his PhD dissertation "Improving Predictive Capabilities of Classical Cascade Theory for Nonproliferation Analysis" sought to remedy the problems posed by the flexible gas centrifuge enrichment technologies. By incorporating newly named "cascade dynamics," he was better able to quantify the capabilities and characteristics of gas centrifuge enrichment plants for nonproliferation analysis. However, this previously built codebase was unable to be obtained by the university and this study seeks to rebuild and recreate those previous results. In this study, the newly developed NPACC-X seeks to recreate the data produced by NPACC in terms of minor isotope separation through a cascade, internal cascade physical parameters, and the analysis of unideal cascade configurations. This study was moderately successful in recreating this previously built cascade modeling tool in that NPACC-X matches the isotopic profiles of the original NPACC with only slight disagreements. However, there still remains differences in the overall isotopic separation factors, hydraulic throughput of the cascade, and isotopic cuts of minor isotopes. Despite these differences, NPACC-X provides The University of Tennessee with previously unobtained cascade modeling capabilities in an open-source format. This serves and the foundation for further work in the area of open-source cascade modeling tools for use in the nonproliferation community in assessing the capabilities, characteristics, and proliferation potential of existing and over-the-horizon Gas Centrifuge Enrichment Plants.

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