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Radiochimica Acta

International Journal for chemical aspects of nuclear science and technology

Editor-in-Chief: Qaim, Syed M.

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 1.339

CiteScore 2018: 1.20

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.333
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.720

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Volume 107, Issue 7


Nuclear forensics on uranium fuel pellets

Klaus Lützenkirchen / Maria Wallenius / Zsolt Varga / Thierry Wiss / Alexander Knott / Adrian Nicholl / Klaus Mayer
Published Online: 2019-01-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ract-2018-3068


Nuclear forensic analysis of uranium oxide fuel pellets and the respective data interpretation have proven to be important elements of the investigative process when such material is found out of regulatory control. Uranium oxide fuel pellets are produced at industrial scale and have to meet tight technical specifications. Variations in the production process of different manufacturers or fuel fabrication facilities offer an additional source of information. The compilation of such information in a nuclear materials database has proven to be a highly valuable resource. In consequence, measureable material properties (referred to as “signatures”) such as the isotopic composition, the physical dimensions, the chemical impurities, the products of the radioactive decay of uranium and the microstructure allow establishing the processing history of the material. To this end, dedicated analytical methods have to be developed and suitable methods for data evaluation and interpretation need to be utilised. The successful application of these nuclear forensic tools is illustrated with two case studies on real incidents of illicit nuclear trafficking of uranium oxide fuel pellets.

Keywords: Nuclear forensics; uranium; fuel pellets; age dating; impurities

Dedicated to: The memory of Professor Günter Herrmann.


About the article

Received: 2018-10-10

Accepted: 2018-12-10

Published Online: 2019-01-11

Published in Print: 2019-07-26

Citation Information: Radiochimica Acta, Volume 107, Issue 7, Pages 635–643, ISSN (Online) 2193-3405, ISSN (Print) 0033-8230, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ract-2018-3068.

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