The potential of using a portable atomic beam laser spectrometer in the field in a post nuclear detonation event

Date
2022-11-29
Authors
Edelbrock, Julia
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Abstract

Portable, easy to use isotope identification instruments are required for preliminary investigations of nuclear post-detonation events. Having preliminary data allows for proper emergency response determinations and follow-up actions. Work reported herein investigated the use of atomic beam laser spectroscopy in the field. A prototype portable atomic beam laser spectrometer was used to determine the enrichment values of ²³⁵U compared to ²³⁸U in glassy and sand debris samples. The measurements obtained from the prototype were compared to results from conventional instruments and the certified values of the samples. The calculated enrichment values are within rough agreement of the relative concentration of the isotopes, and definitive peaks can be seen for ²³⁵U and ²³⁸U, pending enrichment type. Continued development of this technology will yield a very useful analytical methodology for use in nuclear post-detonation event forensics.

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