Tracey-Ann Wellington

Tracey-Ann Wellington is a Ph.D. candidate in the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education at the University of Tennessee studying Energy Science and Engineering, focusing on Nuclear Energy. She received a BS in Mathematical Physics from Randolph College and an MS in Materials Science and Engineering from Texas A&M University. Her research interests include radiation detection, nuclear forensics, safeguards, nonproliferation studies and energy policy.

Tracey’s currently works in the Nuclear Materials Detection and Characterization Group under Dr. John Mihalczo at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Her research focuses on developing new methods to accurately determine the 240/239 ratio for plutonium (Pu) metal assemblies and utilizes the neutrons produced from inherent fission in Pu-240 and induced fission in Pu-239, to determine the Pu isotopic ratio in a variety of configurations. This research approach combines measurements taken of Pu assemblies with ORNL’s Nuclear Materials Identification System (NMIS) and Monte Carlo simulations that model these measurements. NMIS is a computer-based, time-dependent coincidence counting system used to analyze fissile and non-fissile materials. The simulations will be used to develop methods of extracting this ratio from time-dependent coincidence distributions obtained from passive and active measurements conducted on NMIS. This research will help develop new and accurate methods to aid nuclear security missions, more specifically in the area of arms control and future treaty verification. In addition to her dissertation work, Tracey is a part of the ORNL team responsible for the design, construction and demonstration of the Fieldable Nuclear Materials Identification System (FNMIS) prototype. The goal of this project is to convert the laboratory R&D NMIS into a device that can be used in the field.