Common bricks can be used to detect past presence of uranium, plutonium
by Staff Writers
Raleigh NC (SPX) Mar 06, 2018
Researchers from North Carolina State University have demonstrated a technique that can determine whether bricks - the common building material - have ever been near a radiological source, and identify the specific type of source, such as high enriched uranium or plutonium. The technique is possible when there are no chemical residues left behind, and has security and nuclear nonproliferation applications.
Robert Hayes, an associate professor of nuclear engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper on this work, previously used simulations to demonstrate the concept that building materials could be used to characterize nuclear material - even after it was no longer there.
But the NC State team has now validated that the technique works for characterizing transuranic radioactive materials, and fine-tuned the technique so that it can be done in days instead of weeks.
"The technique laid out in our paper can take brick samples the size of a thimble and use them to identify whether a radiological source was plutonium, uranium, and so on, even if the source has been removed," says Ryan O'Mara, a Ph.D. student at NC State and first author of the paper.
"That has clear nonproliferation applications. For example, if a facility says that it has not been making high-enriched uranium - the kind used in weapons - you could take a sample from the building itself and determine whether there had been high-enriched uranium on site."
Researchers envision a variety of future applications as well.
The researchers think the technique may also be used to determine whether nuclear facilities are shipping out as many spent "low burnup" fuel rods as they say they are. This is significant because some facilities have secretly diverted a percentage of their low burnup fuel rods for use as feedstock that can be used to create weapons-grade plutonium.
"We're submitting proposals to support that work, as well as work that could help us better assess public exposure in the event of a radiological incident - which would have real value in the context of emergency response," Hayes says. "And we are already working to demonstrate that we can use the technique as a three-dimensional 'gamma camera,' giving us the ability to capture the dimensions of the source or sources."
Research Report: Dose deposition profiles in untreated brick material
DARPA Seeks to Expand Real-Time Radiological Threat Detection to Include Other Dangers
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 22, 2018
Advanced commercially available technologies-such as additive manufacturing (3-D printing), small-scale chemical reactors for pharmaceuticals, and CRISPR gene-manipulation tools-have opened wide access to scientific exploration and discovery. In the hands of terrorists and rogue nation states, however, these capabilities could be misused to concoct chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in small quantities and in form factors ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.|