Development of rapid methodologies for uranium age dating
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The measured model age is an important signature to constrain the production history of an unknown nuclear material. The aim of this work was to validate a rapid, robust quantification scheme for bulk uranium materials, amenable to multiple detection platforms. This work describes a combination of stacked columns, vacuum assisted separations, automation and a suite of analysis techniques to determine the ages of uranium materials and CRMs of known production history. The methodology allows for the determination of 234U/230Th and 235U/231Pa atom ratios via a novel approach, starting with a three resin column separation to allow high throughput and rapid turnaround. The materials analysed have concordant ages with known production histories, leading to the potential for expanding this work to additional chronometers, and the approach offers nuclear forensic practitioners an additional, advantageous separation methodology in the analysis of bulk uranium materials.
KeywordsRadio-chronometry 234U/230Th 235U/231Pa Rapid separation Radiochemical separation Actinide analysis
The research herein was funded and supported by AWE plc, UK. Paul Thompson, James Dunne and Nathan Thomas are thanked for help guiding this work.
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