Japan Atomic Energy Agency studying the use of AI for nuclear forensics

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency has launched a study to use artificial intelligence in identifying the origin and characteristics of nuclear materials collected in the aftermath of nuclear terrorist acts, officials said.

The move comes as Japan faces the need to enhance security against nuclear terrorism and other issues ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. International concern is high that terrorists could obtain radioactive material and use it, together with conventional explosives, to make a so-called dirty bomb.

In the event of a terrorist act, the agency, at the request of the police, looks into the nuclear substance collected from the scene by cross-checking its database on the characteristics of nuclear materials kept at its facilities nationwide.

Through such nuclear forensics technology, the agency finds out at which facility and when the illicitly used materials were made and other information that will lead to criminal prosecution.

The analysis has so far been conducted by relying on each researcher’s abilities, but the national research institute hopes to use AI in the cross-check activity to expedite the process, according to the officials.

“The speed and reliability for identifying nuclear matter will increase with the use of AI,” JAEA researcher Yoshiki Kimura said. “We will work on its development and hope the technology can be utilized in measures against nuclear terrorist acts in the future.”

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