The Role of Nuclear Forensics in Nuclear Security

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  • March 2014

    The purpose of the nuclear security regime is to prevent, detect and respond to nuclear security events (e.g. illicit trafficking of nuclear material or a nuclear terrorism attack). Nuclear forensic analysis is a key technical capability that utilises signatures inherent to nuclear or other radioactive material to provide information on its source, production and history. It can be used as part of the response to the nuclear security event, as well as to help prevent it. Section I of this article will introduce the basic information about nuclear forensic analysis. Section II, which constitutes the main body of the article, will describe in detail how the process of nuclear forensic analysis works in case of a nuclear security event investigation, and provide examples to illustrate specific points. Section III will conclude the article by discussing how nuclear forensics can be utilised not just for a post-event investigation but also for prevention of nuclear security events.