chapter  10
34 Pages

Unmasking the Illicit Trafficking of Nuclear and Other Radioactive Materials

WithStuart Thomson, Mark Reinhard, Mike Colella, Claudio Tuniz

The emergence of illicit trafficking in nuclear and radioactive materials is a serious concern in light of the increased threat of terrorism. This chapter highlights capabilities in the field of nuclear detection and forensics by explaining current methods, procedures, and strategies in a general context. The International Atomic Energy Agency classifies radioactive materials into five separate categories: unirradiated direct use nuclear materials, irradiated direct use nuclear materials, alternative nuclear materials, indirect use nuclear materials, and radioactive sources. Knowledge of the underlying deficiencies of radiation detection instruments and the inherent difficulties of gamma-ray spectrometry can be exploited to circumvent the detection of nuclear and other radioactive materials. The presence of radiological material at a scene dictates the desire for a number of specialists to be available during the investigation. The collection of radiological material should be conducted in accordance with standard methods recommended by national bodies and those used by national law enforcement experts.