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Nuclear forensics course

Nuclear Forensics is the examination of nuclear and other radioactive materials using analytical techniques to determine the origin and history of this material in the context of law enforcement investigations or the assessment of nuclear security vulnerabilities.

Uranium isotope ratios are important signature in nuclear or other radioactive material. This signature can give us information whether or not U-235 is enriched or depleted in the sample. In addition, presence of U-236 can often indicate that such material has been irradiated, which is important information in revealing the history of nuclear material.

Videos are presenting determination of uranium isotope ratios by multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICP-MS) in swipe samples. Swipe samples are often taken in the case when we want to investigate non-disclosed presence of nuclear material. Information on U isotope ratios can reveal presence of enriched or depleted uranium, as well as presence of U-236. Determination of U isotope ratios by MC-ICP-MS is time consuming and involve destruction of the sample. This is the reason why such analysis is normally applied in later stages of nuclear forensics investigation, following faster and non-destructive techniques. In addition, it require different skills, starting from selection of suitable sample preparation method, radionuclide separation techniques, usage of sophisticated measurement equipment and data analysis. The aim of the videos is to present these skills through step by step analytical procedure.

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