Investigation of the isotopic composition of lead and of trace elements concentrations in natural uranium materials as a signature in nuclear forensics

J. Švedkauskaite-LeGore, K. Mayer, S. Millet, A. Nicholl, G. Rasmussen, and D. Baltrunas

Lead is contained as trace element in uranium ores and propagates throughout the production process to intermediate products like yellow cake or uranium oxide. The lead isotopes in such material originate from two sources: natural lead and radiogenic lead. The variability of the isotopic composition of lead in ores and yellow cakes was studied and the applicability of this parameter for nuclear forensic investigations was investigated. Furthermore, the chemical impurities contained in these materials were measured in order to identify characteristic differences between materials from different mines. For the samples investigated, it could be shown, that the lead isotopic composition varies largely from mine to mine and it may be used as one of the parameters to distinguish between materials of different origins. Some of the chemical impurities show a similar pattern and support the conclusions drawn from the lead isotope data.

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