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Title: Nuclear Forensics Technical Measurement Training


Provide hands-on laboratory training on gamma ray spectrometry-based techniques to support a nuclear forensic investigation.

  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (NA-20)
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States

Citation Formats

Geist, William H. Nuclear Forensics Technical Measurement Training. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1343696.
Geist, William H. Nuclear Forensics Technical Measurement Training. United States. doi:10.2172/1343696.
Geist, William H. Mon . "Nuclear Forensics Technical Measurement Training". United States. doi:10.2172/1343696.
title = {Nuclear Forensics Technical Measurement Training},
author = {Geist, William H.},
abstractNote = {Provide hands-on laboratory training on gamma ray spectrometry-based techniques to support a nuclear forensic investigation.},
doi = {10.2172/1343696},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Feb 13 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Mon Feb 13 00:00:00 EST 2017}

Technical Report:

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  • We have been very successful in measuring and analyzing actinides and actinide containing material for concentration ranges as low as 100 ppm to metal alloys. Several publications and LA-UR spectral line assignment references have been generated from this effort and listed below (1-6).
  • The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP), recently announced by DOE Secretary Bodman, poses significant new challenges with regard to securing, safeguarding, monitoring and tracking nuclear materials. In order to reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation, new technologies must be developed to reduce the risk that nuclear material can be diverted from its intended use. Regardless of the specific nature of the fuel cycle, nuclear forensics and attribution will play key roles to ensure the effectiveness of nonproliferation controls and to deter the likelihood of illicit activities. As the leader of the DHS nuclear and radiological pre-detonation attribution program, LLNL ismore » uniquely positioned to play a national leadership role in this effort. Ensuring that individuals or organizations engaged in illicit trafficking are rapidly identified and apprehended following theft or diversion of nuclear material provides a strong deterrent against unlawful activities. Key to establishing this deterrent is developing the ability to rapidly and accurately determine the identity, source and prior use history of any interdicted nuclear material. Taggants offer one potentially effective means for positively identifying lost or stolen nuclear fuels. Taggants are materials that can be encoded with a unique signature and introduced into nuclear fuel during fuel fabrication. During a nuclear forensics investigation, the taggant signature can be recovered and the nuclear material identified through comparison with information stored in an appropriate database. Unlike serial numbers or barcodes, microtaggants can provide positive identification with only partial recovery, providing extreme resistance to any attempt to delete or alter them.« less
  • Total-cross-section measurements are feasible on a much wider range of radioactive samples than (n,γ) cross-section measurements, and information extracted from the former can be used to set tight constraints on the latter. There are many (n,γ) cross sections of great interest to radiochemical diagnostics, nuclear forensics, and nuclear astrophysics which are beyond the reach of current direct measurement, that could be obtained in this way. Our simulations indicate that measurements can be made at the Manuel Lujan Jr. Neutron Scattering Center at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center for samples as small as 10μg. There are at least 40 high-interestmore » nuclides which should be measurable, including 88Y, 167,168,170,171Tm, 173,174Lu, and 189,190,192Ir.« less
  • Nuclear forensics and nuclear attribution have become increasingly important tools in the fight against illegal trafficking in nuclear and radiological materials. This technical report documents the field of nuclear forensics and nuclear attribution in a comprehensive manner, summarizing tools and procedures that have heretofore been described independently in the scientific literature. This report also provides national policy-makers, decision-makers, and technical managers with guidance for responding to incidents involving the interdiction of nuclear and radiological materials. However, due to the significant capital costs of the equipment and the specialized expertise of the personnel, work in the field of nuclear forensics hasmore » been restricted so far to a handful of national and international laboratories. In fact, there are a limited number of specialists who have experience working with interdicted nuclear materials and affiliated evidence. Most of the laboratories that have the requisite equipment, personnel, and experience to perform nuclear forensic analysis are participants in the Nuclear Smuggling International Technical Working Group or ITWG (see Section 1.8). Consequently, there is a need to disseminate information on an appropriate response to incidents of nuclear smuggling, including a comprehensive approach to gathering evidence that meets appropriate legal standards and to developing insights into the source and routes of nuclear and radiological contraband. Appendix A presents a ''Menu of Options'' for other Member States to request assistance from the ITWG Nuclear Forensics Laboratories (INFL) on nuclear forensic cases.« less
  • The goal of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Nuclear and Radiological Forensics and Attribution Program is to develop the technical capability for the nation to rapidly, accurately, and credibly attribute the origins and pathways of interdicted or collected materials, intact nuclear devices, and radiological dispersal devices. A robust attribution capability contributes to threat assessment, prevention, and deterrence of nuclear terrorism; it also supports the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in its investigative mission to prevent and respond to nuclear terrorism. Development of the capability involves two major elements: (1) the ability to collect evidence and make forensic measurements,more » and (2) the ability to interpret the forensic data. The Program leverages the existing capability throughout the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory complex in a way that meets the requirements of the FBI and other government users. At the same time the capability is being developed, the Program also conducts investigations for a variety of sponsors using the current capability. The combination of operations and R&D in one program helps to ensure a strong linkage between the needs of the user community and the scientific development.« less