CREATORAmerican Physical Society / American Association for the Advancement of Science
TITLENuclear Forensics: Role, State of the Art, Program Needs

This report provides policy makers with information on the 2008 status of nuclear forensics and an assessment of its ability to prevent terrorist attacks, or, in the event of a successful attack, to identify the perpetrators. Nuclear forensics involves the technical analysis and interpretation of nuclear materials that are seized in unused form or retrieved from post-explosive debris. The report, produced by a joint working group of the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), emphasizes that nuclear forensics is only one component of identifying the origin of a nuclear device. Other components include law enforcement, use of radiological detection devices, dosimetry, traditional forensics, and intelligence gathering. Conclusions highlight the critical need for increased international cooperation, better training of personnel, and improved development and deployment of instruments that detect radioactive materials. Appendices include an overview of isotopic signatures of plutonium and uranium, information on techniques and instrumentation used in nuclear forensics, and biographies of the working group members.

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