Nuclear Forensics Science to Bridge the Radiological Crime Scene to the Nuclear Forensics Laboratory

Open for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code

J02020

CRP

2360

Approved Date

22 June 2022

Status

2 - New - Collecting or Evaluating proposals

Description

Built upon prior research supported by the IAEA, this Coordinated Research Project (CRP) aims to narrow the gap and strengthen the relationship between the radiological crime scene and the nuclear forensics laboratory via research projects focused on implementing methods to analyze and interpret physical, elemental, chemical and isotopic properties of nuclear or other radioactive material. As intentional unauthorized acts involving nuclear or other radioactive material out of regulatory control present a serious threat to both national and international security, effective detection and prosecution of criminal acts involving nuclear or other radioactive material serves to deter future illicit trafficking. Research projects supported by this CRP may range from the development of new forensic signatures to the use of robotics at crime scenes and beyond.

Objectives

The CRP seeks to develop and apply approaches to nuclear forensics science that enable States to implement nuclear forensics examinations in support of investigations that involve the analysis of the physical, elemental, chemical and isotopic properties of nuclear or other radioactive material, and traditional evidence contaminated with radionuclides collected at radiological crime scene, enabling States to respond to events involving nuclear or other radioactive material encountered out of regulatory control.

Specific objectives

Development of approaches to move the laboratory to the radiological crime scene, including methods to perform fast in-field analysis of collected nuclear or other radioactive materials, and traditional forensics evidence contaminated with radionuclides

Development of on-line data transfer and communication systems for direct data sending from the crime scene to the nuclear forensics laboratory.

Development of requirements for using robots at a radiological crime scene

Development of methods to maximize the quality of analytical data collected using in-field instrumentation (e.g. gamma spectrometry, X-ray fluorescence, and other field-deployable techniques) for categorization and initial characterization of nuclear or other radioactive material at a radiological crime scene.

Development of approaches to improve the collection and interpretation of physical characterization (morphology) data from nuclear or other radioactive material, and evidence contaminated with radionuclides, using macro- and micro-scale analytical techniques, especially for powder, particulate, and microparticle samples.

Development of approaches to measure inhomogeneously-distributed nuclear forensic signatures in nuclear or other radioactive material.

Development of methods to exploit the physical, elemental, chemical, and isotopic properties of non-nuclear evidence associated with nuclear or other radioactive material out of regulatory control (e.g. packaging and shielding material; paper and other associated documents; the effect of radiation on evidence).

Development of new nuclear forensics signatures in nuclear or other radioactive material.

Development of analytical approaches to measure key nuclear forensics signatures (e.g. isotope ratios) using sustainable, cost-effective instrumentation.

Development of analytical approaches in nuclear forensics specifically designed for the collection of data from sealed radioactive sources and other radioactive materials commonly used in industrial and medical applications.

Development of improved statistical and data analysis tools for mathematical inclusion or exclusion when comparing nuclear forensic signature data to data compiled in a national nuclear forensic laboratory.

Development and adaptation of advanced nuclear technologies applied for nuclear forensics.

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