Title: Sample characteristics and nuclear forensic signatures
Authors: MAYER KlausWALLENIUS MariaVARGA Zsolt
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC66343
ISBN: 978-0-19-873664-6
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC66343
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The processes that lead to the generation, transformation or modification of nuclear material affect certain properties of the material. Consequently, nuclear material, like any other natural or industrial material, exhibits some characteristics that are related to the process that generated or modified it. If a relationship can be established between a measurable material parameter and the process that led to this parameter, it is termed a 'characteristic parameter'. Parameters include the chemical or isotopic composition of the nuclear material, chemical impurities, and the visual appearance and geometry of an item. Such parameters can provide valuable information for nuclear forensic analysis. Combining various characteristic parameters will increase confidence in the nuclear forensic conclusions drawn and enable the history of the material to be ascertained. Combinations of characteristic parameters are called 'nuclear forensic signatures'. This chapter describes nuclear forensic signatures in the nuclear fuel cycle. (On signatures in post-explosion environments see chapters 6 and 8.) It follows a widely accepted classification, according to which a nuclear forensic signature can include four types of characteristic parameters: physical, chemical, elemental and isotopic. Section I describes physical signatures in metallic uranium and plutonium, nuclear fuel pellets, and various powders and liquids common in the fuel cycle. Section II describes chemical signatures in the most important compounds of uranium and plutonium and discusses the most common non-nuclear chemicals pertinent to the fuel cycle. Section III reviews signatures obtainable from elements other than uranium, plutonium or thorium that are normally present in investigated material in widely varying concentrations. Section IV describes signatures that can be constructed by analysing the isotopic composition of both nuclear and non-radioactive materials.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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