Next steps

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What next?

As nuclear scientists, forensic scientists, responders and others work increasingly – and hopefully increasingly effectively – together, they will undoubtedly come across new areas where their cooperation can be improved. The online community established as part of the present project will provide an appropriate forum for raising and discussing such matters and for coordinating the research that will be required.

Just a few of the questions that will need answering include:

  • What new sampling strategies will be needed when dealing with nuclear/radiological materials?
  • What specific sampling strategies will be needed when working on a radioactive crime scene?
  • How can material or a crime scene be decontaminated without damaging forensic traces?
  • How will current forensic techniques for analysing explosion debris need to be changed to deal with contaminated debris?
  • How can fingerprints be collected from radioactive materials?
  • What is the best way to profile radiological materials?
  • How does radioactivity affect cell phones and digital data carriers?
  • How does radioactivity affect DNA and other human traces?
  • To what extent will traditional forensic methods be effective on evidence containing radioactive materials?

EU FP7 Research Project

To try to resolve some of these questions, a consortium of which NFI is a member has submitted an application for research funding from the EU Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7).

Specifically, the research will focus on the following:

  • Methods of sampling and investigating crime scenes
  • Using traditional forensic methods on evidence containing radioactive materials
  • Profiling radiological materials

Other members of the consortium are:

  • Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) (UK)
  • CBRNe World (UK)
  • Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA (France)
  • IB Consultancy (The Netherlands)
  • Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) (European Commission)
  • Laboratory for Radiation Research (LSO) (The Netherlands)
  • M Squared Lasers (UK)