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Inorg Chem ; 60(15): 11569-11578, 2021 Aug 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34293259


The chemical speciation of uranium oxides is sensitive to the provenance of the samples and their storage conditions. Here, we use diffraction methods to characterize the phases found in three aged (>10 years) uranium ore concentrates of different origins as well as in situ analysis of the thermally induced structural transitions of these materials. The structures of the crystalline phases found in the three samples have been refined, using high-resolution synchrotron X-ray diffraction data. Rietveld analysis of the samples from the Olympic Dam and Ranger uranium mines has revealed the presence of crystalline α-UO2(OH)2, together with metaschoepite (UO2)4O(OH)6·5H2O, in the aged U3O8 samples, and it is speculated that this forms as a consequence of the corrosion of U3O8 in the presence of metaschoepite. The third sample, from the Beverley uranium mine, contains the peroxide [UO2(η2-O2)(H2O)2] (metastudtite) together with α-UO2(OH)2 and metaschoepite. A core-shell model is proposed to account for the broadening of the diffraction peaks of the U3O8 evident in the samples.

Anal Chem ; 88(3): 1496-505, 2016 Feb 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26703823


Nuclear forensic science, or "nuclear forensic", aims to answer questions about nuclear material found outside of regulatory control. In this Feature, we provide a general overview of nuclear forensics, selecting examples of key "nuclear forensic signatures" which have allowed investigators to determine the identity of unknown nuclear material in real investigations.

Ciências Forenses/métodos , Aplicação da Lei , Monitoramento de Radiação , Resíduos Radioativos/análise , Medidas de Segurança , Humanos
Forensic Sci Int ; 240: 111-21, 2014 Jul.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24836840


Early in 2009, a state policing agency raided a clandestine drug laboratory in a suburb of a major city in Australia. During the search of the laboratory, a small glass jar labelled "Gamma Source" and containing a green powder was discovered. The powder was radioactive. This paper documents the detailed nuclear forensic analysis undertaken to characterise and identify the material and determine its provenance. Isotopic and impurity content, phase composition, microstructure and other characteristics were measured on the seized sample, and the results were compared with similar material obtained from the suspected source (ore and ore concentrate material). While an extensive range of parameters were measured, the key 'nuclear forensic signatures' used to identify the material were the U isotopic composition, Pb and Sr isotope ratios, and the rare earth element pattern. These measurements, in combination with statistical analysis of the elemental and isotopic content of the material against a database of uranium ore concentrates sourced from mines located worldwide, led to the conclusion that the seized material (a uranium ore concentrate of natural isotopic abundance) most likely originated from Mary Kathleen, a former Australian uranium mine.

Anal Chem ; 81(20): 8327-34, 2009 Oct 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-19824713


Lead and strontium isotope ratios were used for the origin assessment of uranium ore concentrates (yellow cakes) for nuclear forensic purposes. A simple and low-background sample preparation method was developed for the simultaneous separation of the analytes followed by the measurement of the isotope ratios by multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS). The lead isotopic composition of the ore concentrates suggests applicability for the verification of the source of the nuclear material and by the use of the radiogenic (207)Pb/(206)Pb ratio the age of the raw ore material can be calculated. However, during data interpretation, the relatively high variation of the lead isotopic composition within the mine site and the generally high contribution of natural lead as technological contamination have to be carefully taken into account. The (87)Sr/(86)Sr isotope ratio is less prone to the variation within one mine site and less affected by the production process, thus it was found to be a more purposeful indicator for the origin assessment and source verification than the lead. The lead and strontium isotope ratios measured and the methodology developed provide information on the initial raw uranium ore used, and thus they can be used for source attribution of the uranium ore concentrates.