Friday, February 22, 2008

Materials intelligence and Air Sampling

Nuclear tests, including underground tests that vent into the atmosphere, produce fallout that not only indicates that a nuclear event has taken place, but, through radiochemical analysis of radionuclides in the fallout, characterize the technology and source of the device. For example, a pure fission device will have different fallout products from a boosted fission device, which, in turn, differ from various types of thermonuclear devices.

One real-world example is a review of how xenon by-product levels could be used to distinguish if air sampling from a North Korean test, either atmospheric testing or leakage from an underground test, could be used to determine if the bomb was nuclear, and, if so, whether the Primary was plutonium or highly-enriched uranium (HEU)

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