To identify and characterize illicit trafficking and smuggling nuclear material, information obtained from analysis of unknown samples are important and helpful for authorities (Law Enforcement) to give fast and appropriate response actions.
In the framework of studies and collaboration with safeguard networks, our laboratory is able to carry out the characterization of nuclear material using various analytical methods, including isotopic composition, chemical impurities contents, and material properties. Furthermore, a specific method was developed and improved to give information about the date of production of HE and LE Uranium samples.
Our methodology for dating the last purification of the unknown Uranium material using the parent/daughter chronometer 234U/230Th is presented : after chemical extraction from the bulk material and the chemical preparation by co-precipitation, Thorium amount is determined using -spectrometry, and Uranium fraction is measured by Isotopic Dilution - Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (ID-TIMS).
A focus is done on the specific chemical preparation of the sample, and several examples of applications of age-dating method are given.