Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

John W. McClory, PhD.


Dust clouds resulting from nuclear explosions are complex phenomena, and knowledge on how they form is lacking. Noting the similarities between supernovae and nuclear explosions led to the concept of modeling a nuclear dust cloud using a supernova simulation. MOCASSIN uses a Monte Carlo approach to model photons traveling through a dust cloud, allowing the cloud's characteristics to be discovered by comparing an observed spectrum to a calculated one and then changing input values to make the spectra match. Data files describing two nuclear fireballs of varying yields were created and analyzed using MOCASSIN, but yielded zero energy spectra. After varying the parameters of the tests, analyzing the resulting spectra, and comparing them to data, it was found that the differences between the nuclear explosion and supernova were too significant for MOCASSIN to accurately model both. Insufficient input data for nuclear materials, and low ionization levels and high densities in the fireball were insurmountable issues. Ultimately, it was concluded that MOCASSIN is not a viable method for analyzing nuclear explosions.

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Year misprinted on cover page