Network of Analytical Laboratories
Since February 2016, SRNL has been one of just 26 global laboratories in 14 countries that make up the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Network of Analytical Laboratories (NWAL). As of March 2023, SRNL has been qualified by the IAEA for two NWAL areas of support, nuclear material analysis and reference materials, quality control, and other support functions. Just six US Department of Energy (DOE) national Laboratories and one U.S. armed forces laboratory are qualified to the IAEA NWAL.
The IAEA NWAL is a group of laboratories in IAEA member states officially qualified for the analysis of nuclear material and environmental samples, as well as the provision of reference materials for the Safeguards Analytical Laboratory (SAL) in support of the IAEA Department of Safeguards mission supporting global efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. The IAEA NWAL program qualifies laboratories in in five specific areas of support: environmental sample analysis, nuclear material analysis, material characterization, heavy water analysis, and reference materials, quality control, and other support functions.
SRNL is qualified for NWAL nuclear material analysis (NWAL-NMA), sample analysis for verification of state declarations. SRNL provides support using decades of knowledge and expertise in the discipline of nuclear measurements for uranium and plutonium. SRNL’s capabilities for these analyses include ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accredited (A2LA – 3750-01) methods for uranium and plutonium assay (how much of the material is in a sample).
The SRNL NWAL Materials Program (NWAL-MP) is one of three programs worldwide qualified by the IAEA to make particle reference materials. Particle reference materials are essential to laboratories performing particle analysis of environmental samples for the IAEA. The materials are used for quality assurance, method development, and traceability of measurement results.
Scientific instruments require reference materials for testing and calibration. Reference materials can be as simple as the certified weight set used to check that the supermarket or as complex as single electron transport used in defining the Ampere. SRNL makes micrometer sized particles that contain very well-known quantities of uranium and plutonium that can be used to test and calibrate high sensitivity measurement methods.