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October 27, 2006

Improved detection of small amounts of plutonium and uranium

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have demonstrated that they can cheaply, quickly and accurately identify even subnanogram amounts of weapon-grade plutonium and uranium. The scientists were able to successfully identify trace amounts of uranium-235 and plutonium-239 in less than three minutes. They have applied a highly sensitive technique called delayed neutron activation analysis to improve detection.

This helps weapons inspectors. Remote detection from distances of 10,000+ feet will have military implications.

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