Currently, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is considering India’s application for membership. In this context NSG members are reportedly discussing membership criteria for states not party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), including a requirement for clear and strict separation of current and future civilian nuclear facilities from non-civilian nuclear facilities. In this paper, John Carlson examines India’s Separation Plan and safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and shows that they do not meet this standard – that current arrangements create an unverified grey zone between military and civilian material, and are not sufficient to verify that India is not using safeguarded material to benefit military purposes.
Read more: India’s Nuclear Safeguards: Not Fit for Purpose
The paper describes the applicability of different characteristics (signatures) in nuclear safeguards and forensics for assessment of uranium material provenance in terms of production process. The study follows a uranium ore concentrate production from an ore to a U3O8 product. It turned out that rare-earth elemental pattern, radiochronometry (age of ore body and material production date), sulphur and organic impurities are useful to find out the origin or history of the material, while certain trace-elements and isotopics of Pb or Sr were found to be inconclusive. The results will be important to understand the signatures in nuclear safeguards and forensics.
Read more: Identification of uranium signatures relevant for nuclear safeguards and forensics