If walls could talk, would they tell you the whereabouts of secret, weapons-grade plutonium? According to a team of nuclear engineers, yes. In a study published this month in the journal Radiation Measurements, a team of nuclear engineers have shown how everyday building materials like brick and title can be used to look back in time at a environments’ nuclear history and paint a 3D picture of what kind of materials may have been there and how strong their radiation was. This research can help nuclear inspectors tell the difference between a building used to make nuclear power and one used for more nefarious purposes. Robert Hayes, the study’s first author and associate professor of nuclear engineering at North Carolina State University, tells Inverse that using these building materials as “gamma-ray cameras” allows them to look retroactively at these materials even if they’ve since been removed from the environment.
Inverse 19th March 2020 read more »