Fingerprinting Elements: IAEA Updates Neutron Activation Examination E-mastering Program

The IAEA has a short while ago up to date its e-learning content on an established process to find out the composition and origin of elements: neutron activation investigation (NAA). The e-studying system involves new written content covering unique facts of the method, updated terminology and expansion of existing modules. The module also features checks for customers to check the know-how they have obtained by means of the e-mastering system.

NAA is the most generally employed approach in research reactors. It allows determine the elemental ‘fingerprint’ of resources by measuring the radiation of radionuclides just after neutron irradiation. It is value efficient and necessitates low ability and neutron flux, which is achievable in most neutron sources primarily based on research reactors or particle accelerators.

“This method is used in numerous fields, these kinds of as geology, archaeology, pollution manage, wellbeing and forensics,” claimed Nuno Pessoa Barradas, Exploration Reactor Specialist at the IAEA “For occasion, it has been applied to decide trade routes in historic civilizations, identify counterfeit espresso, and can aid look at the excellent of air and the resource of air pollutants.”

Considering that its release in 2017, this e-studying study course was taken by in excess of 700 contributors from 90 countries doing the job in NAA laboratories, study reactor functioning companies, investigation establishments and universities. It is currently being employed as finding out product in undergraduate and graduate classes at universities, which includes the College of Texas, the place Sheldon Landsberger coordinates the Nuclear & Radiation Engineering Educational Application.

“In 2022, I will have 15 graduate college students and 6 IAEA fellows in my gamma ray spectrometry system and I will use modules from IAEA e-mastering content,” he said.

Updated and enhanced based on suggestions from end users, up-to-date understanding and tactics, the e-discovering study course is aimed at making certain risk-free and extended use of NAA both of those within just and outdoors the nuclear subject.

“This training course is especially critical as it explores the much more impressive and unparalleled facets of NAA, this sort of as its special abilities of analyzing big samples, in addition to offering functional areas of the perform of NAA, such as system validation,” said Peter Bode, an professional from the Netherlands who has contributed to the improvement of the system.

The system involves new modules on

  • ‘Standards, calibrators, and reference materials’, concentrating on international requirements and reference elements in just NAA for calibration, system validation and quality regulate,
  • ‘Sample preparation’, offering methods for the prevention of contamination and element reduction, drying methods and on homogenization and representativeness, and
  • ‘Maintenance of Instrumentation’, zooming in on preventative routine maintenance for gamma ray spectrometers to enable end users boost the life span and good quality of their instrumentation.

The IAEA delivers once-a-year proficiency checks through interlaboratory comparison exercise routines led by the IAEA Nuclear Sciences and Instrumentation Laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria. Such checks provide nations with the opportunity to have their methods and instrumentation assessed and to obtain assistance on improvements. Individuals are guided in direction of the NAA e-learning training course as preliminary preparation for these proficiency exams and other IAEA workshops on nuclear approaches in analysis reactors. The IAEA is also establishing a publication on functional guides to good quality manage and excellent assurance for NAA, as a outcome of desires revealed from previous proficiency exams.