Application of ICP-MS ahd Isotopic Techniques in Resolving Nuclear Forensic Signatures in Uranium Mining and Processing
The nuclear and radioactive material is used in industries for academic purposes as well as for research and development. Cases of illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive material are being constantly reported . Nuclear forensics was introduced as a division in science to unanswered questions in support of law enforcement and intelligence. Nuclear forensic is the branch concerned with the analysis or characterization of seized nuclear or radioactive material based on chemical and isotopic composition, age dating and physical parameters in determining the origin of the interdicted radiological nuclear material. These parameters are called signatures and are stored in a nuclear forensic library as database or archives so each country can easily have access to them for attribution. There are rising nuclear security concerns about the safety and proliferation of the nuclear materials used in these nuclear power plants (Molgaard et al. , 2015a, Varga, 2008, Molgaard et al., 201 Sb) as well as possible diversion for illicit purposes by nuclear terrorists (Hutcheon et al. , Kristo, 2012). This has necessitated the characterization of seized nuclear or radioactive material based on chemical and isotopic composition as well as physical parameters which can be used in determining the origin of the interdicted radiological nuclear material. The characteristic difference between lead isotopic composition from the earth ' s crust (e.g. uranium ore body) and that from industrial emissions enables the applications of this ratio in nuclear forensics investigations (Moody, 2015). In South Africa there is a vast uranium ore (uraninite) deposits (Fuchs et al. , 2016) , with a lot of mining and processing activities. It is therefore imperative for the each country to properly collect and compile nuclear forensic signatures in databases and national libraries, that can be used as evidence for attribution of the seized nuclear or radioactive material. Little information is available when it comes to developing a NNFL due to a lack of effort and finances (Davydov et al., 2014). A known nuclear material is required in order to identify the origin of the unknown intercepted material ; hence there is a need for South Africa to develop a nuclear Forensics database and libraries . The aim of this study was to apply ICPMS and HPGe gamma ray detector in implementing nuclear forensic signatures from a South African Uranium Mining and Processing plant.
- Health Sciences