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The Use of SIMS and SEM for the Characterization of Individual Particles with a Matrix Originating from a Nuclear Weapon.

Ranebo, Ylva LU ; Eriksson, Mats; Tamborini, Gabriele; Niagolova, Nedialka; Bildstein, Olivier and Betti, Maria (2007) In Microscopy and Microanalysis 13(3). p.179-190
Abstract
The application of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) for characterization of mixed plutonium and uranium particles from nuclear weapons material is presented. The particles originated from the so-called Thule accident in Greenland in 1968. Morphological properties have been studied by SEM and two groups were identified: a “popcorn” structure and a spongy structure. The same technique, coupled with an energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectrometer, showed a heterogeneous composition of Pu and U in the surface layers of the particles. The SIMS depth profiles revealed a varying isotopic composition indicating a heterogeneous mixture of Pu and U in the original nuclear weapons material itself. The depth... (More)
The application of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) for characterization of mixed plutonium and uranium particles from nuclear weapons material is presented. The particles originated from the so-called Thule accident in Greenland in 1968. Morphological properties have been studied by SEM and two groups were identified: a “popcorn” structure and a spongy structure. The same technique, coupled with an energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectrometer, showed a heterogeneous composition of Pu and U in the surface layers of the particles. The SIMS depth profiles revealed a varying isotopic composition indicating a heterogeneous mixture of Pu and U in the original nuclear weapons material itself. The depth distributions agree with synchrotron-radiation-based [mu]-XRF (X-ray fluorescence microprobe) measurements on the particle (Eriksson, M., Wegryzynek, D., Simon, R., & Chinea-Cano, E., in prep.) when a SIMS relative sensitivity factor for Pu to U of 6 is assumed. Different SIMS identified isotopic ratio groups are presented, and the influence of interferences in the Pu and U mass range are estimated. The study found that the materials are a mixture of highly enriched <sup>235</sup>U (<sup>235</sup>U:<sup>238</sup>U ratio from 0.96 to 1.4) and so-called weapons grade Pu (<sup>240</sup>Pu:<sup>239</sup>Pu ratio from 0.028 to 0.059) and confirms earlier work reported in the literature. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
environmental radioactive particles, SIMS, uranium, Thule, SEM, plutonium, weapons grade enrichment, isotopic ratios
in
Microscopy and Microanalysis
volume
13
issue
3
pages
179 - 190
publisher
Cambridge University Press
external identifiers
  • wos:000246814100006
  • scopus:34248576753
ISSN
1435-8115
DOI
10.1017/S1431927607070353
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0424331c-3fff-41ac-a38f-b1ca096671c9 (old id 168345)
date added to LUP
2007-07-24 09:09:58
date last changed
2017-01-01 04:31:58
@article{0424331c-3fff-41ac-a38f-b1ca096671c9,
  abstract     = {The application of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) for characterization of mixed plutonium and uranium particles from nuclear weapons material is presented. The particles originated from the so-called Thule accident in Greenland in 1968. Morphological properties have been studied by SEM and two groups were identified: a “popcorn” structure and a spongy structure. The same technique, coupled with an energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectrometer, showed a heterogeneous composition of Pu and U in the surface layers of the particles. The SIMS depth profiles revealed a varying isotopic composition indicating a heterogeneous mixture of Pu and U in the original nuclear weapons material itself. The depth distributions agree with synchrotron-radiation-based [mu]-XRF (X-ray fluorescence microprobe) measurements on the particle (Eriksson, M., Wegryzynek, D., Simon, R., &amp; Chinea-Cano, E., in prep.) when a SIMS relative sensitivity factor for Pu to U of 6 is assumed. Different SIMS identified isotopic ratio groups are presented, and the influence of interferences in the Pu and U mass range are estimated. The study found that the materials are a mixture of highly enriched &lt;sup&gt;235&lt;/sup&gt;U (&lt;sup&gt;235&lt;/sup&gt;U:&lt;sup&gt;238&lt;/sup&gt;U ratio from 0.96 to 1.4) and so-called weapons grade Pu (&lt;sup&gt;240&lt;/sup&gt;Pu:&lt;sup&gt;239&lt;/sup&gt;Pu ratio from 0.028 to 0.059) and confirms earlier work reported in the literature.},
  author       = {Ranebo, Ylva and Eriksson, Mats and Tamborini, Gabriele and Niagolova, Nedialka and Bildstein, Olivier and Betti, Maria},
  issn         = {1435-8115},
  keyword      = {environmental radioactive particles,SIMS,uranium,Thule,SEM,plutonium,weapons grade enrichment,isotopic ratios},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {179--190},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {Microscopy and Microanalysis},
  title        = {The Use of SIMS and SEM for the Characterization of Individual Particles with a Matrix Originating from a Nuclear Weapon.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1431927607070353},
  volume       = {13},
  year         = {2007},
}