Plutonium identification lab, ETUI Karlsruhe

Plutonium identification lab, ETUI Karlsruhe

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This image is part of the feature Nuclear Detectives

Credit: JURGEN SCRIBA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Identifying contraband nuclear material. View of a laboratory at the European Trans-Uranium Institute (ETUI), where the origin of contraband nuclear materials such as plutonium may be determined. In this glovebox the sample is dissolved in a suitable solvent and diluted to a very low concentration. The sample is then placed in a glow discharge mass spectrometer which identifies impurities in the sample such as americium or gallium. The presence and quantity of such impurities acts as a 'signature' to the sample's country of origin, and may even identify the source production facility. The ETUI is in Karlsruhe, Germany.

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Keywords: black market plutonium, energy, etui, european trans-uranium inst., glovebox, handle, handling, ident., identifying origin, industry, isotope iden, laboratory, nuclear material identificatio, nuclear materials, plutonium, plutonium ident., processing, radioactive, radioactivity, technology

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