Title: Nuclear Forensic Science - From Cradle to Maturity
Citation: JOURNAL OF ALLOYS AND COMPOUNDS vol. 444-445 p. 50-56
Publication Year: 2007
JRC N°: JRC40105
ISSN: 0925-8388
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC40105
DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2007.01.164
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Since the beginning of the 1990s, when the first seizures of nuclear material were reported, the IAEA recorded more than 800 cases of illicit trafficking of nuclear or other radioactive materials. Despite the decreasing frequency of seizures involving nuclear materials (i.e. uranium or plutonium), the issue continues to attract public attention and is a reason for concern due to the hazard associated with such materials. Once illicitly trafficked nuclear material has been intercepted, the questions of its intended use and origin are to be addressed. Especially the origin is of prime importance in order to close the gaps and improve the physical protection at the sites where the theft or diversion occurred. To answer the questions, a dedicated nuclear forensics methodology has been developed. In this paper, an overview is given on the methodologies used, the measurement techniques that are applies and on the characteristic parameters that help in the identification of the origin of the material. Some selected examples shall illustrate the challenges and the complexity associated with this work. In particular the past and on-going developments in this new area of science will be highlighted and special attention is attributed to the challenges ahead.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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