Determination of the origin of unknown irradiated nuclear fuel

J Environ Radioact. 2006;86(3):313-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2005.09.007. Epub 2005 Nov 11.


An isotopic fingerprinting method is presented to determine the origin of unknown nuclear material with forensic importance. Spent nuclear fuel of known origin has been considered as the 'unknown' nuclear material in order to demonstrate the method and verify its prediction capabilities. The method compares, using factor analysis, the measured U, Pu isotopic compositions of the 'unknown' material with U, Pu isotopic compositions simulating well known spent fuels from a range of commercial nuclear power stations. Then, the 'unknown' fuel has the same origin as the commercial fuel with which it exhibits the highest similarity in U, Pu compositions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Reactors*
  • Plutonium / analysis
  • Power Plants*
  • Radiation Monitoring*
  • Radioactive Fallout
  • Radioisotopes / analysis*
  • Radiometry
  • Risk Assessment
  • Uranium / analysis


  • Radioactive Fallout
  • Radioisotopes
  • Uranium
  • Plutonium