Nuclear Reference Materials and Analytics
The application of safeguards by the IAEA involves analytical measurements of samples taken during inspections and requires the development and advancement of analytical techniques with support from the Member States contributing to strengthened and more efficient verification of compliance with non-proliferation obligations. To this end, the IAEA has expressed the need to acquire quality control and reference materials for particle analysis methods applied in safeguards.
In the framework of the German Member State Support Programme as well as dedicated cooperation arrangements between Forschungszentrum Jülich (IEK-6) and the IAEA’s Office of Safeguards Analytical Services (SGAS), recent activities have been focussing on:
- The production and characterisation of particles for quality assurance and quality control. As the availability of monodisperse uranium-containing particles with well-defined properties such as size, density, elemental and/or isotopic composition is limited so far, the work at IEK-6 is aimed at assisting the IAEA in acquiring particle reference materials. In 2019 a batch of samples were successfully used in an International Laboratory Exercise and certified as the first commercially available microparticle reference material according to the isotopic composition and the amount uranium per particle.
- The qualification of the Forschungszentrum Jülich (nominated by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in 2013) as a member of the IAEA Network of Analytical Laboratories for Safeguards (NWAL). In line with the above mentioned research, it was agreed with the IAEA that Forschungszentrum Jülich pursues the qualification for NWAL membership as a laboratory for provision of particle reference materials.