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Video on Safeguards Analytical Laboratory Singled Out in USA

Technician at SAL

A technician at the Safeguards Analytical Laboratory in Seibersdorf examining uranium particles under an optical microscope. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

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A six-minute video that takes viewers inside the IAEA safeguards laboratory was singled out recently for excellence in communications. The video shows analysts working at the Safeguards Analytical Laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria, where more than 1 000 samples of nuclear material are analyzed each year.

The recognition came from the US International Film and Video Festival, which awarded the SAL video producers a certificate for creative excellence. The Festival was founded in 1967 and is one of the world´s leading international events devoted exclusively to recognition of outstanding business, television, documentary, educational, entertainment, industrial and informational productions.

SAL analyzes samples of nuclear materials from IAEA safeguards inspections. The samples are taken at key measurement points of the nuclear fuel cycle and sent to SAL for destructive chemical and isotopic analysis. This complements physical inspections and measurements performed by IAEA inspectors in nuclear facilities. The goal is to verify that material under Agency safeguards is not diverted for non-peaceful purposes.

Additionally, SAL´s Clean Laboratory receives samples and smears taken in nuclear facilities and analyzed to search for signatures of undeclared usage of the installations. Environmental samples of water, soil and vegetation are taken to search for traces of actinides indicating the presence and operation of an undeclared nuclear installation in the vicinity. Ultra-sensitive analytical techniques allow the identification and isotopic analysis of femtogram amounts of actinides and thereby the tracking of their origin.

Recently IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei noted the need for more investment down the line. Addressing the IAEA Board, he said that significant additional resources are sorely needed for upgrading IAEA laboratories whose work is vital to carry out essential verification, safety and development functions.

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