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This content will become publicly available on August 25, 2018

Title: Tracking Radionuclide Fractionation in the First Atomic Explosion Using Stable Elements

Compositional analysis of postdetonation fallout is a tool for forensic identification of nuclear devices. However, the relationship between device composition and fallout composition is difficult to interpret because of the complex combination of physical mixing, nuclear reactions, and chemical fractionations that occur in the chaotic nuclear fireball. By using a combination of in situ microanalytical techniques (electron microprobe analysis and secondary ion mass spectrometry), we show that some heavy stable elements (Rb, Sr, Zr, Ba, Cs, Ba, La, Ce, Nd, Sm, Dy, Lu, U, Th) in glassy fallout from the first nuclear test, Trinity, are reliable chemical proxies for radionuclides generated during the explosion. Stable-element proxies show that radionuclides from the Trinity device were chemically, but not isotopically, fractionated by condensation. Moreover, stable-element proxies delineate chemical fractionation trends that can be used to connect present-day fallout composition to past fireball composition. Stable-element proxies therefore offer a novel approach for elucidating the phenomenology of the nuclear fireball as it relates to the formation of debris and the fixation of device materials within debris.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States). Nuclear and Radiochemistry
  2. Arizona State Univ., Tempe, AZ (United States). School of Earth and Space Exploration
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0003-2700
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Analytical Chemistry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 89; Journal Issue: 18; Journal ID: ISSN 0003-2700
American Chemical Society (ACS)
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)
Country of Publication:
United States
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; fallout; glassy debris; volatility; fractionation; nuclear forensics; SIMS
OSTI Identifier: