Since 18 of December 2019 uses Nucleus credentials. Visit our help pages for information on how to Register and Sign-in using Nucleus.
Jul 7 – 10, 2014
Europe/Vienna timezone

Advances in Nuclear Forensics Analysis at CEA/DIF: Radiochronology Studies

Jul 9, 2014, 11:30 AM


Vienna International Centre, 1400 Vienna, Austria


Dr A. HUBERT (CEA, France)


Analytical laboratories at CEA/DIF are part of the NWAL (Network of Analytical Laboratories in support of IAEA's nuclear safeguards) for the analysis of environmental samples since 2001 for both bulk and particle analysis. Part of the expertise inherited from environmental analysis is now used to develop capabilities in nuclear forensics analysis. Two projects of analytical developments are currently under progress at CEA/DIF: age dating of uranium materials and the geolocation of uranium-ore concentrates. For the first one, we have established two procedures to date small quantities of uranium (from 1 µg up to 100 µg) with two radioactive couples (234U/230Th and 235U/231Pa). As our equipments are dedicated to trace analysis, only micro-quantities of nuclear materials can be handled in the laboratory in order to avoid contamination. We have then used micro-columns of chromatographic resins to separate thorium or protactinium from uranium. Measurements are performed on ICP-MS for Th and Pa and TIMS for U. The detection limit (DL) for 230Th and 231Pa determination is close to 1 fg. If this DL is extrapolated to particle matter, we would theoretically be able to date a 15 year-old natural uranium particle (UO2) for which diameter is 40 µm, and a 15 year-old highly enriched (93%) uranium particle of UO2 for which diameter is 8 µm.

Primary author

Dr A. HUBERT (CEA, France)


Mr F. Pointurier (CEA, France) Dr M. Mendes (CEA, France)

Presentation materials