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Title: Nuclear forensics: Soil content

Nuclear Forensics is a growing field that is concerned with all stages of the process of creating and detonating a nuclear weapon. The main goal is to prevent nuclear attack by locating and securing nuclear material before it can be used in an aggressive manner. This stage of the process is mostly paperwork; laws, regulations, treaties, and declarations made by individual countries or by the UN Security Council. There is some preliminary leg work done in the form of field testing detection equipment and tracking down orphan materials; however, none of these have yielded any spectacular or useful results. In the event of a nuclear attack, the first step is to analyze the post detonation debris to aid in the identification of the responsible party. This aspect of the nuclear forensics process, while reactive in nature, is more scientific. A rock sample taken from the detonation site can be dissolved into liquid form and analyzed to determine its chemical composition. The chemical analysis of spent nuclear material can provide valuable information if properly processed and analyzed. In order to accurately evaluate the results, scientists require information on the natural occurring elements in the detonation zone. From this information, scientists canmore » determine what percentage of the element originated in the bomb itself rather than the environment. To this end, element concentrations in soils from sixty-nine different cities are given, along with activity concentrations for uranium, thorium, potassium, and radium in various building materials. These data are used in the analysis program Python.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1213518
Report Number(s):
LA-UR--15-26811
TRN: US1500387
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
98 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS, AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; DATA; NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS; SOILS; CHEMICAL ANALYSIS; CHEMICAL COMPOSITION; DETECTION; ENVIRONMENT; ROCKS; YIELDS; USA; URBAN AREAS; BUILDING MATERIALS; P CODES