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Title: Determination of origin and intended use of plutonium metal using nuclear forensic techniques

Nuclear forensics techniques, including micro-XRF, gamma spectrometry, trace elemental analysis and isotopic/chronometric characterization were used to interrogate two, potentially related plutonium metal foils. These samples were submitted for analysis with only limited production information, and a comprehensive suite of forensic analyses were performed. Resulting analytical data was paired with available reactor model and historical information to provide insight into the materials’ properties, origins, and likely intended uses. Both were super-grade plutonium, containing less than 3% 240Pu, and age-dating suggested that most recent chemical purification occurred in 1948 and 1955 for the respective metals. Additional consideration of reactor modelling feedback and trace elemental observables indicate plausible U.S. reactor origin associated with the Hanford site production efforts. In conclusion, based on this investigation, the most likely intended use for these plutonium foils was 239Pu fission foil targets for physics experiments, such as cross-section measurements, etc.
Authors:
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Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-16-22022
Journal ID: ISSN 0379-0738
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Forensic Science International
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 273; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0379-0738
Publisher:
Elsevier
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; nuclear forensics; plutonium; Special Nuclear Materials; fission foil; chronometry; age dating
OSTI Identifier:
1340963
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1414591