Author Topic: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford  (Read 1149 times)

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Offline Cincinnatus

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Hanford is a local facility where the nuclear material for the first atomic bomb was developed. You folks, as taxpayers, still spend a lot of money to support Hanford and we thank you as it is the local federal cash cow.

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A siren blared and lights flashed as an SUV drove through a radiation monitoring station at the HAMMER training center at Hanford.

It was the start of a fictitious case that would be solved by 26 visitors from nations around the globe who are spending two weeks in the Tri-Cities to learn more about the emerging field of nuclear forensics.

They’ll go home to countries from Vietnam to Mexico with information that can help them identify confiscated nuclear materials and possibly trace them to their origins, helping prevent nuclear proliferation and acts of nuclear terrorism.

“It’s a very new science and we’re trying to stand it up internationally,” said Jon Schwantes, a senior scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland. “Nuclear terrorism and proliferation is a global issue.”

The need for the training, which is being offered for the second time at HAMMER by the National Nuclear Security Administration, is more than theoretical.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed about 400 cases of smuggled, stolen and other criminal possession of nuclear materials since 1993. That includes at least 16 incidents involving weapons-usable enriched uranium or plutonium.

When suspect radioactive material is seized, such as at a border crossing, law enforcement officials need to be able to investigate the incident as a possible crime. But traditional forensics labs aren’t equipped or experienced to handle and analyze nuclear material.

In the United States, for instance, the Federal Bureau of Investigation turns to scientists at the Department of Energy for support when cases require nuclear forensics. But a scientist helping law enforcement with an investigation needs to learn new skills that can make or break a criminal investigation, such as maintaining chain of command.

“I gained an overview of all aspects of forensics -- sampling, analyzing, summarizing results,” said Jiri Janda of the Czech Republic, this week, the second week of the course. He’s a scientist and soldier who teaches at a defense university.

He’ll be introducing the information in his classes taught to military and civilian students and looking at ways to change his country’s military procedures, including for chain of custody when the army conducts nuclear forensics sampling and identification, he said. In the sample case that the students have followed for two weeks, the SUV set off alarms as it crossed through a radiation monitoring station, similar to ones Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has helped DOE set up at border crossings and ports around the globe.

Students would practice using new technology, starting with a portable 3-D X-ray radiography equipment to see inside the bag without opening it in case it contained a bomb.

They would use two scientific techniques for the nuclear forensic investigation of the bag’s radioactive contents: alpha spectrometry, which would require them to use chemistry to separate out a pure sample of the radionuclide for analysis, and gamma ray spectrometry, which can be tricky because of background radiation and other factors.

They helped law enforcement crack the case, discovering they were dealing with two types of radioactive material. The evidence contained weapons-grade plutonium and barium 133. The barium 133, which is used in law enforcement instruments to detect items hidden in containers such as gas tanks, in this case was being used to mask the plutonium and make it more difficult to detect.

But determining what material was being smuggled helped law enforcement only half solve the crime. The next step was for students to determine where the material came from by consulting materials databases for similarities to their evidence samples and reaching out to the neighbors of the fictitious country where the case was set.

“Not every country needs advanced capabilities, but every country needs some rudimentary capabilities in nuclear forensics to be able to categorize nuclear or radioactive material out of regulatory control,” Schwantes said.

For more advanced analysis in real cases, workshop participants are encouraged to reach out to the Nuclear Forensics International Technical Working Group and draw on new contacts made at the workshop. Experts supporting the class came from multiple DOE national laboratories, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and agencies in Australia and Europe


http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2013/11/07/2663364/international-visitors-study-new.html
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SPQR

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2013, 11:56:27 PM »
You cant ignore this place. it contains the two thirds of the nation's nuclear waste and the waste is threatening  the Colombia River with plutonium waste.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 11:57:34 PM by SPQR »

SPQR

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2013, 12:10:49 AM »
You cant ignore this place. it contains the two thirds of the nation's nuclear waste and the waste is threatening  the Colombia River with plutonium waste.

Another good place would be Bikini Atoll. People are rarely allowed on the island.

Offline Oceander

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2013, 12:16:06 AM »
Then there's the Chernyobl exclusion zone, which has become a world-class haven for wildlife - wildlife that shows nary any signs of injury from the elevated levels of radiation there, in flat contradiction to received wisdom regarding the effects of radiation.

SPQR

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2013, 12:20:17 AM »
Then there's the Chernyobl exclusion zone, which has become a world-class haven for wildlife - wildlife that shows nary any signs of injury from the elevated levels of radiation there, in flat contradiction to received wisdom regarding the effects of radiation.

Don't forget the testing sites in Semipalatinsk and Novaya Zemlya in Russia
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 12:23:08 AM by SPQR »

Offline Oceander

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2013, 12:25:45 AM »
Don't forget the testing sites in Semipalatinsk and Novaya Zemlya in Russia

Shit happens, don't it?  Radiation isn't a particularly bigger threat than any other serious industrial risk; non-radioactive materials have killed far greater numbers than has radiation.  To mention just one:  Bhopal.

SPQR

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2013, 12:36:59 AM »
Shit happens, don't it?  Radiation isn't a particularly bigger threat than any other serious industrial risk; non-radioactive materials have killed far greater numbers than has radiation.  To mention just one:  Bhopal.


You still have to take precautions.You can find radioactive products everywhere. I remember in my brothers lab that they used radioactive isotopes. It was kept in a special red container with the radiation sign.You can find low grade radioactive materials in X-Ray machines at doctors and dentists offices and hospitals. Its just the majority of people do not know why the dentist makes you wear that lead apron. It prevents you from being exposed to radiation

This is the proper way to dispose of hospital radioactive waste:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068798/
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 12:47:47 AM by SPQR »

Offline Oceander

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2013, 12:49:57 AM »
You still have to take precautions.You can find radioactive products everywhere. I remember in my brothers lab that they used radioactive isotopes. It was kept in a special red container with the radiation sign.You can find low grade radioactive materials in X-Ray machines at doctors and dentists offices and hospitals. Its just the majority of people do not know why the dentist makes you wear that lead apron. It prevents you from being exposed to radiation

Actually, the radiation - the "x rays" - in the dentist's x-ray machine is generated with non-radioactive materials.  X-rays, which are themselves "radiation" in the sense that they can cause radiation injuries the way that gamma rays from radioactive materials can, are generated when a stream of electrons with a very high velocity is generated at the cathode end of a vacuum tube and then strikes the anode end.  Most of the energy of those electrons is turned into heat, but a small percentage of that energy is released as very high energy photons - which are the x-rays.

SPQR

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2013, 01:14:04 AM »
Actually, the radiation - the "x rays" - in the dentist's x-ray machine is generated with non-radioactive materials.  X-rays, which are themselves "radiation" in the sense that they can cause radiation injuries the way that gamma rays from radioactive materials can, are generated when a stream of electrons with a very high velocity is generated at the cathode end of a vacuum tube and then strikes the anode end.  Most of the energy of those electrons is turned into heat, but a small percentage of that energy is released as very high energy photons - which are the x-rays.


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X-radiation (composed of X-rays) is a form of electromagnetic radiation. in medical diagnostic applications, the low energy (soft) X-rays are unwanted, since they are totally absorbed by the body, increasing the radiation dose without contributing to the image. Hence, a thin metal sheet, often of aluminium, called an X-ray filter, is usually placed over the window of the X-ray tube, absorbing the low energy part in the spectrum. This is called hardening the beam since it shifts the center of the spectrum towards higher energy (or harder) x-rays.A radiograph is an X-ray image obtained by placing a part of the patient in front of an X-ray detector and then illuminating it with a short X-ray pulse. Bones contain much calcium, which due to its relatively high atomic number absorbs x-rays efficiently. This reduces the amount of X-rays reaching the detector in the shadow of the bones, making them clearly visible on the radiograph. The lungs and trapped gas also show up clearly because of lower absorption compared to tissue, while differences between tissue types are harder to see.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090303125809.htm
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 01:17:22 AM by SPQR »

Offline Oceander

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2013, 01:19:49 AM »
.
X-radiation (composed of X-rays) is a form of electromagnetic radiation. in medical diagnostic applications, the low energy (soft) X-rays are unwanted, since they are totally absorbed by the body, increasing the radiation dose without contributing to the image. Hence, a thin metal sheet, often of aluminium, called an X-ray filter, is usually placed over the window of the X-ray tube, absorbing the low energy part in the spectrum. This is called hardening the beam since it shifts the center of the spectrum towards higher energy (or harder) x-rays.A radiograph is an X-ray image obtained by placing a part of the patient in front of an X-ray detector and then illuminating it with a short X-ray pulse. Bones contain much calcium, which due to its relatively high atomic number absorbs x-rays efficiently. This reduces the amount of X-rays reaching the detector in the shadow of the bones, making them clearly visible on the radiograph. The lungs and trapped gas also show up clearly because of lower absorption compared to tissue, while differences between tissue types are harder to see.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090303125809.htm


Yes, but that also demonstrates that radioactive materials are not used in the production of x-rays, notwithstanding that the end-result - the x-rays - consists of ionizing radiation.  Turn the x-ray machine off and there is no radiation.

SPQR

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2013, 01:28:53 AM »
Yes, but that also demonstrates that radioactive materials are not used in the production of x-rays, notwithstanding that the end-result - the x-rays - consists of ionizing radiation.  Turn the x-ray machine off and there is no radiation.



Two radiocontrast agents are presently in common use. Barium sulfate (BaSO4) is given orally or rectally for evaluation of the GI tract. Iodine, in multiple proprietary forms, is given by oral, rectal, intra-arterial or intravenous routes. These radiocontrast agents strongly absorb or scatter X-rays, and in conjunction with the real-time imaging, allow demonstration of dynamic processes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoroscopy
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 01:31:59 AM by SPQR »

Offline Oceander

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2013, 01:31:35 AM »

Two radiocontrast agents are presently in common use. Barium sulfate (BaSO4) is given orally or rectally for evaluation of the GI tract. Iodine, in multiple proprietary forms, is given by oral, rectal, intra-arterial or intravenous routes. These radiocontrast agents strongly absorb or scatter X-rays, and in conjunction with the real-time imaging, allow demonstration of dynamic processes


How many of those are used by dentists?

SPQR

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Re: International visitors study new field of nuclear forensics at Hanford
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2013, 02:02:39 AM »



Dental Radiographs are commonly called x-rays. Dentists use radiographs for many reasons: to find hidden dental structures, malignant or benign masses, bone loss, and cavities.A radiographic image is formed by a controlled burst of X-ray radiation which penetrates oral structures at different levels, depending on varying anatomical densities, before striking the film or sensor. Teeth appear lighter because less radiation penetrates them to reach the film. Dental caries, infections and other changes in the bone density, and the periodontal ligament, appear darker because X-rays readily penetrate these less dense structures. Dental restorations (fillings, crowns) may appear lighter or darker, depending on the density of the material.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_radiography
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_radiography
http://quizlet.com/17980137/chapter-3-the-dental-x-ray-machine-components-functions-flash-cards/#

When entering an DOE site, they give you a dosimeter or an film badge to check how much radiation are you receiving.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 02:07:45 AM by SPQR »


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