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2022 | OriginalPaper | Buchkapitel

Radiological and Nuclear

verfasst von : M. Lavelle

Erschienen in: CBRNE: Challenges in the 21st Century

Verlag: Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

Mapping a radiological or nuclear security risk at the necessary granularity requires a ‘live’ understanding of six contributing factors: (1) material science; (2) engineering processes; (3) transport; (4) storage; (5) human factors and (6) cyber-physical controls. Operating at this level of specialist knowledge will need a shared human—machine approach, likely taking the form of a global radiological and nuclear information management system built on modern graph processes.

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Fußnoten
1
The exact definition of radiological and nuclear materials can vary widely, depending on use case. For our purposes, we define a radiological material as containing any isotope of an element with an unstable atomic nucleus that is capable of spontaneously emitting energy via radioactive decay (see 4.1.1). Nuclear materials form a subset of this group, made up of isotopes capable of sustaining a nuclear fission chain reaction. Technically, this means isotopes of the 15 actinide elements with an odd neutron number. In practice, we discuss only uranium-235, U-233 and plutonium-239 since they are frequently used to generate an explosive fission chain reaction within a nuclear weapon. Overall, our focus is on higher energy ionizing radiation sources forming an acute security risk, rather than the chronic health and environmental impacts of naturally occurring radiation (e.g. radon).
 
2
In common usage the term is interchangeable with radionuclide and radioactive isotope. Radioisotope refers to any isotope of an element whose atoms contain an unbalanced, excess amount of energy. Isotopes are chemical variants of the same element, each with different numbers of neutrons. For example, strontium has four stable naturally occurring isotopes (Sr-84, 86, 87 & 88) and thirty-one unstable radioisotopes spanning Sr-73 to Sr-107. Strontium-89 (used in cancer treatments) and Sr-90 (thermoelectric power generators) are produced during fission and are of security concern.
 
3
For a single, standard pressurised water reactor generating 1GWe/yr. Globally, this requires the processing of ~ 70,000 tonnes of natural uranium oxide every year (https://​world-nuclear.​org/​information-library/​facts-and-figures/​world-nuclear-power-reactors-and-uranium-requireme.​aspx July 2021 update).
 
4
Radioactive isotopes of security concern are artificially generated for medical and industrial use via (i) separation of standard reactor fission products; (ii) the controlled neutron bombardment of inserted reactor ‘targets’; or (iii) via particle acceleration—often in compact cyclotrons.
 
5
Where the unstable excess energy is produced in the electron shell—not the nucleus—X-ray photons are generated instead of gamma. Although x-rays are ionising, they are mostly machine generated and so not discussed in detail here.
 
6
In addition to alpha and beta particles, free neutrons also cause ionization, but only indirectly. A stable nucleus will naturally absorb the extra neutron, creating an unstable nucleus. As before, this new excess energy is then shed via standard alpha, beta or gamma decay.
 
7
Defined as levels of risk below which regulation is either ‘out of scope’ (not necessary) or ‘light touch’ (exempt). For instance, the radiological impact assessments carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) helps national regulators define such materials by considering a wide variety of possible exposure routes, including water and food pathways.
 
8
The IAEA attempts to monitor all types of fissionable nuclear material (uranium, plutonium and thorium), naturally occurring and artificially produced radioisotopes and radioactive contaminated material, such as scrap metal. Countries are also encouraged to report incidents involving scams or hoaxes where material is claimed to be nuclear or otherwise radioactive. See https://​www.​iaea.​org/​resources/​databases/​itdb. The live database is not publicly available.
 
9
Capable of sustaining a nuclear chain reaction using thermal (slow) neutrons. U-238 is also fissionable but requires high energy (fast) neutrons to do so—conditions found only within an exploding nuclear warhead or fast-neutron reactor.
 
10
We loosely define ‘security risk’ as any event(s) leading to unintended consequences. Events can be planned/unplanned, accidental/deliberate, benevolent/malicious.
 
11
We consider the common role of ‘safeguards’ to include all radiological materials–not just fissionable nuclear materials.
 
12
A threat assessment determines the credibility and seriousness of a postulated threat—and its probability of occurrence.
 
13
IAEA recommends regulators and operators follow the Design Basis Threat (DBT) approach to designing physical protection systems.
 
14
For our purposes, an event potentially leading to negative consequences.
 
15
Safety can be defined as the establishment of proper operating conditions, prevention of accidents and mitigation of consequences, resulting in the protection of workers and the public from the dangers of radioactive materials. Safety is the responsibility of the facility operator, supervised by a national regulator.
 
16
We define an accident, in the broadest terms, as an uncontrolled event caused by known, unaddressed, unrecognized or unforeseeable issues. For example, the Fukushima nuclear disaster can be viewed as unforeseeable: we cannot predict earthquakes and this was the largest ever recorded in Japan; or as unaddressed, after action was not taken following an internal report indicating the plant’s sea wall was built too low for the local tsunami threat.
 
17
Primarily related to medical imaging.
 
18
We define controlling responsibility as taking four forms (i) ‘Command’ or organisational oversight; (ii) ‘Supervisory’ or general oversight; (iii) ‘Custodial’ or specific oversight; (iii) ‘Direct’ or immediate physical control.
 
19
This scenario draws on events at the Port of Halifax in March 2014. Incorrect attachment of a shipboard container to a shoreside crane led to 4 cylinders of fissile low enriched uranium hexafluoride, weighing 18-tonnes, being dropped into the ships hold from a height of 7-m. Although the cylinder protection features withstood the fall, the container port was closed for 24-h while clean-up and site investigation took place.
 
20
Although this scenario is focused on human—mechanical events, the same process is followed when considering cyber—physical events.
 
21
In computer science, knowledge graphs are a mechanism for adding context to otherwise ‘raw’ information and data. The resulting graph essentially maps human-held expert understanding about the relationships between ‘things’ and makes them machine-readable. This provides a framework for machine reasoning, data integration, unification, analytics and sharing.
 
Literatur
5.
Zurück zum Zitat International Atomic Energy Agency (2005) Categorization of radioactive sources. IAEA Safety Standards Series No. RS-G-1.9. IAEA, Vienna, p 70 International Atomic Energy Agency (2005) Categorization of radioactive sources. IAEA Safety Standards Series No. RS-G-1.9. IAEA, Vienna, p 70
7.
Zurück zum Zitat Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (2020) World nuclear forces. In: SIPRI Yearbook 2020: armaments, disarmament and international security. Oxford University Press, p 720 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (2020) World nuclear forces. In: SIPRI Yearbook 2020: armaments, disarmament and international security. Oxford University Press, p 720
8.
Zurück zum Zitat International Atomic Energy Agency (2009) Development, use and maintenance of the design basis threat. IAEA Nuclear Security Series No. 10. IAEA, Vienna, p 30 International Atomic Energy Agency (2009) Development, use and maintenance of the design basis threat. IAEA Nuclear Security Series No. 10. IAEA, Vienna, p 30
9.
Zurück zum Zitat Australian Radiation Incident Register (2021) Australian radiation incident register report for incidents in 2019. Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, Australian Government, p 31 Australian Radiation Incident Register (2021) Australian radiation incident register report for incidents in 2019. Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, Australian Government, p 31
10.
Zurück zum Zitat International Atomic Energy Agency (2018) Regulations for the safe transport of radioactive material, IAEA Safety Standards Series No. SSR-6 (Rev.1). IAEA, Vienna, p 190 International Atomic Energy Agency (2018) Regulations for the safe transport of radioactive material, IAEA Safety Standards Series No. SSR-6 (Rev.1). IAEA, Vienna, p 190
Metadaten
Titel
Radiological and Nuclear
verfasst von
M. Lavelle
Copyright-Jahr
2022
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-17374-5_4