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Apr 11 – 14, 2022
Vienna International Center
Europe/Vienna timezone

Analysis of UOC for nuclear forensics fingerprinting using Scanning Electron Microscope

Not scheduled
Board Room A (Vienna International Center)

Board Room A

Vienna International Center

Oral 1.4 Case Studies on Nuclear Forensics Capacity Building in Member States Oral Session #5 – Analytical Methods for Analysing Radiological and Nuclear Evidence


Prof. Manny Mathuthu (Center for Applied Radiation Science and Technology (CARST) North West University (Mafikeng))


Nuclear forensics involves the analysis of nuclear material for possible provenance determination using various analytical tools that are available for such analysis. In this study, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) combined with Electron Dispersion Spectrometer (EDS), were used to determine the signatures of uranium ore concentrates (UOC) samples for nuclear forensic applications. SEM and SEM / EDS provided substantial information on this UOC’s morphology and elemental composition. Distinct qualitative and quantitative difference are present for the different UOC’s. The UOC’s surface consists of agglomeration made up of homogenous spherical particles, irregular shaped particles and plate like bulky particles. Average particle size ranged between 0.1 – 0.2 µm. EDS analysis of all the samples showed they contained a consistent 70 weight % of uranium and a stoichiometric formula closest to the molecule of UO4. This technique can thus be used to distinguishing and fingerprinting UOC’s originating from different mines in South Africa.

Primary authors

Prof. Manny Mathuthu (Center for Applied Radiation Science and Technology (CARST) North West University (Mafikeng)) Naomi MOKHINE (North West University) ndeshihafela Vera uushona (National Radiation Protection Authority)

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