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REIMEP-17: Plutonium and uranium amount content, and isotope amount ratios in synthetic input solution - Inter-laboratory comparison, Report to participants

Nuclear safeguards is based on international agreements and in the EU has the rank of European law (Euratom Treaty, Chapter VII, Euratom regulation 302/2005) ensuring that materials usable in both peaceful and military applications – such as uranium and plutonium – are used for peaceful purposes only. Physical verification measurements at nuclear facilities, such as reprocessing and fuel fabrication plants, are a part of safeguards inspections. The reliability of measurement results in nuclear material accountancy and verification is indispensable for an effective safeguards system. A new external quality control campaign, REIMEP-17 on "Plutonium and uranium amount content, and isotope amount ratios in synthetic input solution" was organised by JRC-IRMM in cooperation with JRC-ITU, particularly for EURATOM safeguards (DG ENER) laboratories and the IAEA Network of Analytical Laboratories for nuclear material analysis (IAEA-NWAL), as well as for laboratories from industry and experts in the field. Participating laboratories in REIMEP-17 received two samples with undisclosed U, Pu amount content and n(238Pu)/n(239Pu), n(240Pu)/n(239Pu), n(241Pu)/n(239Pu) n(242Pu)/n(239Pu) and n(234U)/n(238U), n(235U)/n(238U), n(236U)/n(238U) amount ratio values. One of the samples, REIMEP 17A had uranium and plutonium amount contents typical for undiluted spent nuclear fuel input solution and the other sample, REIMEP-17B was a diluted fraction of it. The participants were requested to apply their standard analytical procedures and report the results with the associated uncertainties. The laboratories were also requested to complete and return a questionnaire so that an overall picture of the laboratories’ capabilities could be made. REIMEP-17 was announced to participants in April 2012. Sixteen laboratories registered for REIMEP 17. Due to delays in the shipment of the samples and problems with the transport containers, three laboratories were not able to receive the samples. Three laboratories withdrew their participation. Consequently, the deadline for submitting the results had to be extended until July 1, 2013. In the end JRC-IRMM received results from nine laboratories; one laboratory did not submit the results. The reported measurement results have been evaluated against the independent reference values by means of z-scores and zeta-scores in compliance with international guidelines. In general the REIMEP-17 participants' results were satisfactory and in compliance with the International Target Values for Measurement Uncertainties in Safeguarding Nuclear Materials (ITV2010). This report presents the REIMEP-17 participants' results; including the evaluation of the questionnaire.