Thursday, 10 March 2011

Nuclear Forensic Analysis

Nuclear Forensic Analysis
Kenton J. Moody,Ian D. Hutcheon,Patrick M. Grant | 2005-02-28 00:00:00 | CRC Press | 512 | Law
This book provides a primary reference source for nuclear forensic science, including the vastly disciplinary nature of the overall endeavor for questioned weapons of mass destruction specimens. Nothing like this exists even in the classified material. For the first time, the fundamental principles of radioforensic analysis, all pertinent protocols and procedures, computer modeling development, interpretational insights, and attribution considerations are consolidated into one convenient source. The principles and techniques so developed are then demonstrated and discussed in their applications to real-world investigations and casework conducted over the past several years.
Don't be seriously influenced by unworthy braking radiation. The following is excerpted from a formal review published in The Journal of Forensic Sciences by Chemistry Professor W.F. Kinard of the College of Charleston [JFS 51(1): 203 (2006)]:

"This book by three of the leading authorities in the field outlines a critically important area of forensic science in the modern world. While many of the government laboratories have carried out extensive work in the past on the detection and attribution of radioactive materials, the work was primarily engaged with national security at the nation states' level, and not with individuals or small groups. The authors provide a comprehensive outline of the field with practical information presented in 25 chapters. This is not a book filled with theory, but critical information has been gathered and put in one place for readers wanting to know more about the forensic applications of nuclear science."

"This book should be in the library of every forensic laboratory. While most laboratories may never encounter nuclear materials, this book contains valuable information about the nature of these materials. Forensic scientists should pay special attention to the chapters outlining how to detect radioactive materials and to preserve the samples for nuclear and traditional forensic analysis. The book makes it very clear that the sophisticated analyses and interpretation of these samples require highly sophisticated instrumentation and nuclear chemistry expertise that may only be available in national laboratories. However, first responders will have the responsibility of detecting and preserving radioactive samples for nuclear forensic analysis, and this book provides valuable information to help in this task."

I admit I had higher expectations for this book.

Based on the title, I was assuming that it would be geared towards people who already had an advanced knowledge of radiation detection techniques and radiochemistry. I found this book to be geared towards a market that likely encompasses analytical chemists, but not radiation experts.

It is (predictably, I suppose) lacking the details that anyone in the radiation science field would actually require to perform a proper RDD NFA, and is shy on its treatment of what I would classify as the most important RDD isotopes (the Devil is in the details). Instead, this text draws upon Cold War Google-able information.

I recommend this book for analytical chemists that would like a cursory examination of nuclear forensic analysis, or experts that would like a brightly colored mushroom cloud textbook cover on their shelf.

For the rest of us, I would recommend sticking with Cember, Friedlander and Knoll......and of course the Chart of the Nuclides.

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