Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry

, Volume 322, Issue 3, pp 1611–1620 | Cite as

A novel chronometry technique for dating irradiated uranium fuels using Cm isotopic ratios

  • Marcus ChristlEmail author
  • Nicolas Guérin
  • Marina Totland
  • Alexandre Gagné
  • Zakir Kazi
  • Sean Burrell
  • Hans-Arno Synal


A novel chronometry method is developed to date irradiated nuclear fuels. It is based on the measurement of two Cm isotopic ratios (244Cm/246Cm and 245Cm/246Cm) and does not require the addition of a yield tracer. The method relies on the decay of 244Cm while the 245Cm/246Cm ratio is considered constant after irradiation. Feasibility is demonstrated using different types of irradiated fuels with known irradiation history. A precision of 5 year is reached so far but clear potential for improvement has been identified. The novel chronometry method represents a promising alternative to existing dating techniques for nuclear materials.


Curium isotopes Chronometry Fuel dating Nuclear forensics AMS 



The CNL portion of this work was undertaken for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited through the Canadian Federal Science and Technology program under project 51200.50.18.06. The ETH Zurich Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics part of the project is partially funded by its consortium partners Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Sciences and Technology (EMPA), and the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG). We want to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their very positive and constructive comments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors have participated in (1) conception and design, or analysis and interpretation of the data; (2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and (3) approval of the final version. The authors have no affiliation with any organization with a direct or indirect financial interest in the subject matter discussed in the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Ion Beam PhysicsZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Analytical Chemistry BranchCanadian Nuclear LaboratoriesChalk RiverCanada
  3. 3.Defense Research & Development Canada, Suffield Research CentreSuffieldCanada

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