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With the advent of countries like Iraq being capable of producing weapon-grade nuclear pellets, U-234 and U-235, it has become essential for security features to not only better track and identify seized plutonium packages, but also to better analyse it so as to trace it back to its manufacturing source. Analytical techniques for nuclear forensics such as Non-destructive gamma-spectrometry is capable of determining the radiotoxicity, age, and the intended use of a plutonium product by analysing the relative abundance of isotopes in the sample, measuring the change of isotopic abundance of elements in nuclear materials during the enrichment process, irradiation in nuclear power stations and by radioactive decay. From this analysis it is possible to read the dates and the sequence of process but to also identify the process itself and its products. For example, knowledge of material properties such as the types of impurities and the roughness of the pellet surface reveal the production batch and the date of production of the material

Additional information

Authors: KOCH L, JRC, Institute For Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: Article: Chemistry in Britain(2000), pp 38-40
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