TITLE

Nuclear Forensic Inferences Using Iterative Multidimensional Statistics

AUTHOR(S)
Robel, Martin; Kristo, Michael J.; Heller, Martin A.
PUB. DATE
January 2009
SOURCE
Proceedings of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management Ann;2009, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Conference Proceeding
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Nuclear forensics involves the analysis of interdicted nuclear material for specific material characteristics (referred to as "signatures") that imply specific geographical locations, production processes, culprit intentions, etc. Predictive signatures rely on expert knowledge of physics, chemistry, and engineering to develop inferences from these material characteristics. Comparative signatures, on the other hand, rely on comparison of the material characteristics of the interdicted sample (the "questioned sample" in FBI parlance) with those of a set of known samples. In the ideal case, the set of known samples would be a comprehensive nuclear forensics database, a database which does not currently exist. In fact, our ability to analyze interdicted samples and produce an extensive list of precise materials characteristics far exceeds our ability to interpret the results. Therefore, as we seek to develop the extensive databases necessary for nuclear forensics, we must also develop the methods necessary to produce the necessary inferences from comparison of our analytical results with these large, multidimensional sets of data. In the work reported here, we used a large, multidimensional dataset of results from quality control analyses of uranium ore concentrate (UOC, sometimes called "yellowcake"). We have found that traditional multidimensional techniques, such as principal components analysis (PCA), are especially useful for understanding such datasets and drawing relevant conclusions. In particular, we have developed an iterative partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) procedure that has proven especially adept at identifying the production location of unknown UOC samples. By removing classes which fell far outside the initial decision boundary, and then rebuilding the PLS-DA model, we have consistently produced better and more definitive attributions than with a single pass classification approach. Performance of the iterative PLS-DA method compared favorably to that of classification and regression tree (CART) and k nearest neighbor (KNN) algorithms, with the best combination of accuracy and robustness, as tested by classifying samples measured independently in our laboratories against the vendor QC based reference set.
ACCESSION #
47574997

 

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