Head of laboratory

Éva Kovács-Széles

Tel: +(36-1)-392-2222 ext: 3171
and +(36-30)-318-3048

E-mail: szeles.eva@energia.mta.hu

One of the main activities of the Nuclear Security Department is combating illicit trafficking of nuclear materials and the fight against nuclear terrorism. Main tasks are the developing analytical methods for the analysis of nuclear materials of unknown origin and determine their origin, as well as nuclear forensic examination of radiological evidence. This activity dates back more than 25 years at our Institute. Currently the lately updated Governmental Decree 490/2015 (XII.30) (previously 17/1996) delegates MTA EK the duties of supporting authorities in identifying and characterising seized, found nuclear materials of unknown origin.

In 2014, a centralized Nuclear Forensic Laboratory was established at the EK, operated by the NSD, but also using equipment located in other departments of EK (such as neutron tomography, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, infrared-spectroscopy, X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence, etc.). Techniques essential for forensic analyzes, such as gamma and mass spectrometry, can be found at our department. The primary, extensive examination of the samples, the so-called physical characterization, is performed in a glove box.

Since 2015, a prototype of the National Nuclear Forensics Library is also available at our Centre. We have ensured the preservation of the chain of custody in the case of evidences by applying our own chain-of-custody system which is based on 11/2003 decree.

The main tasks of the Nuclear Forensic Laboratory include conducting case expert activities for the forensic examination of radiological materials at the request of the authorities, constant availability, continuous preparedness with participation at international round robin exercises and research programs, as well as organization of national and international trainigs in the field.

In December 2016, EK was nominated to the Collaborating Centre of the International Atomic Energy Agency for Nuclear Forensics in Hungary – at first in the world.

The Nuclear Forensic Laboratory strives to help the East-Central European Region and other IAEA Member States in the frame of international training courses, thus wishing to contribute to the enhancement of nuclear security at the international scale.