AUTHORFloyd, Stanley / Stalcup, A. / Spitz, H.
TITLEA Brief Introduction to Analytical Methods in Nuclear Forensics
PERIODICAL TITLEJournal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
DATE PUBLISHED17 July 2012
VOLUME NUMBER295
ISSUE NUMBER2
PAGE NUMBERS1385-1393
ISSN0236-5731


This article addresses the current state of nuclear forensics techniques, which are critical in responding to environmental accidents and illicit trafficking of nuclear materials. The authors present the basics of a variety of techniques and their applications for nuclear forensics. Analytical methods based on radioactive decay include chronometry, which determines a nuclear material age; determination of the isotopic content of impurities associated with the nuclear material; and the use of reference material to calibrate instruments and validate methods. Chemical separation techniques, such as anion exchange and co-precipitation, reduce interference and allow measurements at low levels of radionuclides. Instrumental methods described include counting radioactive emissions, alpha and gamma spectrometry, mass spectrometric techniques, secondary electron microscopy, X-ray fluorescence, and neutron activation analysis. The article includes graphs and photographic images, and the conclusion notes limitations that affect how well techniques can be applied in the field.


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