USMA Research Unit Affiliation

Physics and Nuclear Engineering

Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Nuclear Engineering


A method for formulation and production of Nuclear UnderGround Engineered Test Surrogates (NUGETS) based on notional improvised nuclear device (IND) detonations in an underground environment analogous to the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) is presented. Extensive statistical analyses of precursory geochemical and geophysical characteristics are combined with an augmented surrogate debris cooling technique and predictive IND contributions from the ORIGEN Fallout Analysis Tool. Precursory and resultant elemental compositions, cooling curve calculations, and visual comparison of NUGETS to genuine underground debris are reported. Application of NUGETS methodology to future studies in urban, underground post-detonation technical nuclear forensic (TNF) analysis is suggested.

First Advisor

John D. Auxier, II

Second Advisor

Howard L. Hall

Third Advisor

Lawrence H. Heilbronn


United States Army


University of Tennessee, Knoxville