Prioritized interdiction of nuclear smuggling via tabu search

Dennis P. Michalopoulos, J. Wesley Barnes, David P. Morton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We describe an optimization model for interdicting smuggling of illicit nuclear material. Modeled on a directed network, the interdictor’s goal is to select radiation detector installation locations, subject to a budget constraint, to minimize a smuggler’s evasion probability. A smuggler, characterized by a random origin–destination pair, traverses the network knowing the detector locations. An additional layer of uncertainty is captured when considering a set of budget scenarios in place of a fixed budget value. An optimal solution to this model yields a priority list of detector installation locations. After the budget is revealed, detectors are installed from highest to lowest priority until the budget is exhausted. This notion captures time-phased securing of a transportation network as resources become available. Modeled as bilevel stochastic mixed-integer programs, both the fixed and random budget models are computationally challenging. Hence, we develop a tabu search heuristic to approximately solve both problem types, and we present computational results to assess the performance of our algorithm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1477-1494
Number of pages18
JournalOptimization Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 22 2014


  • Network interdiction
  • Prioritization
  • Stochastic integer program
  • Tabu search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Optimization


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