The application of radiochronometry during the 4th collaborative materials exercise of the nuclear forensics international technical working group (ITWG)
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In a recent international exercise, 10 international nuclear forensics laboratories successfully performed radiochronometry on three low enriched uranium oxide samples, providing 12 analytical results using three different parent-daughter pairs serving as independent chronometers. The vast majority of the results were consistent with one another and consistent with the known processing history of the materials. In general, for these particular samples, mass spectrometry gave more accurate and more precise analytical results than decay counting measurements. In addition, the concordance of the 235U–231Pa and 234U–230Th chronometers confirmed the validity of the age dating assumptions, increasing confidence in the resulting conclusions.
KeywordsNuclear forensics Radiochronometry Uranium oxide Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry Thermal ionization mass spectrometry Gamma spectrometry Alpha spectrometry
All participants acknowledge the Nuclear Forensics International Technical Working Group, in particular, the co-chairs of the Exercise Task Group, Jon Schwantes and Olivia Marsden, for organizing a successful international exercise. Some of this work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344 with funding from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. This work was supported by the Nuclear Safety Research program through the Korea Foundation of Nuclear Safety (KOFONS), granted financial resource from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC), Republic of Korea (No. 1405020).
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