Characterization of a suspect nuclear fuel rod in a case of illegal international traffic of fissile material

G. Capannesi, C. Vicini, A. Rosada, P. Avino

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This case study describes the characterization of a suspect rod of nuclear fuel seized in Italy: on request of the coroner, the characterization concerned the kind and the conditions of the rod, the amount and the specific characteristics of the species present in it, with particular attention to their possible use chemical and/or nuclear plants. The methodology used was based on radiochemical analyses (gammagraphic and γ-spectrometry) whereas the comparison was performed by means of a fuel reference element working in the TRIGA nuclear reactor at Research Center of ENEA-Casaccia. The results show clearly how the exhibit was an element of nuclear fuel, how long it was irradiated, and the amount of239Pu produced and the235U consumed. Finally, even if the seized rod was briefly radiated at the " zero power" and traces of fission products and plutonium were found, it would be still usable as " fresh" fuel in a reactor type TRIGA if it had not been intercepted by Italian police authorities. © 2010 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)-
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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