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Title: Nuclear forensic analysis of uranium oxide powders interdicted in Victoria, Australia

Nuclear forensic analysis was conducted on two uranium samples confiscated during a police investigation in Victoria, Australia. The first sample, designated NSR-F-270409-1, was a depleted uranium powder of moderate purity (~1000 μg/g total elemental impurities). The chemical form of the uranium was a compound similar to K2(UO2)3O4·4H2O. While aliquoting NSR-F-270409-1 for analysis, the body and head of a Tineid moth was discovered in the sample. The second sample, designated NSR-F-270409-2, was also a depleted uranium powder. It was of reasonably high purity (~380 μg/g total elemental impurities). The chemical form of the uranium was primarily UO3·2H2O, with minor phases of U3O8 and UO2. While aliquoting NSR-F-270409-2 for analysis, a metal staple of unknown origin was discovered in the sample. The presence of 236U and 232U in both samples indicates that the uranium feed stocks for these samples experienced a neutron flux at some point in their history. The reactor burn-up calculated from the isotopic composition of the uranium is consistent with that of spent fuel from natural uranium (NU) fueled Pu production. These nuclear forensic conclusions allow us to categorically exclude Australia as the origin of the material and greatly reduce the number of candidate sources.
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  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  2. Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Kirrawee, NSW (Australia)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0033-8230; TRN: US1600479
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Radiochimica Acta
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 103; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 0033-8230
de Gruyter
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND RUEL MATERIALS; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY Nuclear forensics; origin assessment; scanning electron microscopy (SEM); X-ray diffraction; inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry; depleted uranium