Title: Enhancing the EC's analytical capabilities for environmental sample analysis for nuclear safeguards purposes by the establishment of a new Large Geometry Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (LG-SIMS) laboratory
Citation: INMM 53rd Annual Meeting 2012 Proceedings p. Paper n° 280
Publisher: Institute of Nuclear Materials Management
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC69343
URI: http://www.inmm.org/Annual_Meeting_Proceedings.htm
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Nuclear activities unavoidably leave fingerprints in the environment. Such fingerprints may consist of characteristic building structures, of typical supply lines or of minute releases of process material. In particular, the release of micron-sized aerosol particles to the immediate environment is very difficult to avoid to the complete extent, especially when nuclear materials are processed in larger quantities. These micro-particles contain the isotopic signature of the handled nuclear materials. This allows nuclear safeguards authorities with specialised sampling techniques and analytical laboratories to verify the completeness of a state's declaration and to check the consistency of measured material properties (i.e. isotopic composition) with declared operations at nuclear facilities. This methodology has been in particular applied to uranium enrichment facilities. The European Commission (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Institute of Transuranium Elements (ITU) has performed uranium particle analysis for nuclear safeguards purposes on environmental samples since the late 90's with the EC Directorate General Energy (DG-ENER) as its main user. In recent years, significant efforts have been made to enhance the used analytical techniques. The enhancements have been achieved in collaboration with leading manufactures of analytical equipment that has implemented new purpose built systems for particle analysis in the field of Secondary Ion mass Spectrometry (SIMS). This paper describes the purpose and outlines the performance of a new analytical Large Geometry – Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (LG-SIMS) laboratory that has been established at ITU, jointly funded by the JRC and DG-ENER. The laboratory will mainly be used for analysing uranium bearing aerosol particles collected on cotton swipes from nuclear safeguards inspections but it will also be used for other safeguards related applications and nuclear forensics. This paper will give an overview of the capabilities and enhancements that can be expected from this new laboratory and it will also describe the use and importance of environmental sampling that are followed by high performance trace analysis of particles, in the context of European nuclear safeguards.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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