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Nuclear Safeguards Education Portal

What are the attributes of Nuclear Materials?

Uranium Samples
Uranium Samples 

All nuclear materials have the following attributes (though at varying levels of intensity):

  1. Emits self-induced x-rays.
  2. Emits gamma radiation (though generally low-energy gamma rays).
  3. Emits alpha radiation
  4. Emits infra-red (heat) radiation (generally from alpha radiation emission into the matrix composing the material)
  5. Emits singles neutrons or neutrons that are produced one at a time [these are from (α,n) matrix interactions and delayed neutrons]
  6. Emits coincidence neutron radiation from spontaneous fission (in this anywhere from 0 to 8 neutrons may be produced in a single burst)
  7. Is fissionable with an external source of neutrons (which can produce prompt fission neutrons, delayed neutrons, and delayed gammas as a product of the fission reaction)

In the following pages, we will look at each of these attributes in depth.

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