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Title: Nuclear forensic analysis of an unknown uranium ore concentrate sample seized in a criminal investigation in Australia
Authors: Keegan, EA
Kristo, MJ
Colella, M
Robel, M
Williams, R
Lindvall, R
Eppich, G
Roberts, SK
Borg, L
Gaffney, AM
Plaue, J
Wong, HKY
Davis, J
Loi, E
Reinhard, MI
Hutcheon, I
Keywords: Nuclear forensics
Crime detection
Uranium ores
Rare earths
Mary Kathleen mines
Electron microscopy
Issue Date: Jul-2014
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Keegan, E., Kristo, M. J., Colella, M., Robel, M., Williams, R., Lindvall, R., Eppich, G., Roberts, S.K., Borg, L., Gaffney, A., Plaue, J., Wong, H., Davis, J., Loi, E., Reinhard, M. I., & Hutcheon, I. (2014). Nuclear forensic analysis of an unknown uranium ore concentrate sample seized in a criminal investigation in Australia. Forensic Science International, 240, 111-121. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2014.04.004
Abstract: 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. © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
ISSN: 0379-0738
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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