The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) has launched a study to explore the potential use of artificial intelligence for identifying the origin and characteristics of nuclear materials collected in the aftermath of an act of nuclear terrorism, officials said Tuesday.
The move comes as Japan faces the need to enhance security measures 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 terrorism act, the agency, at the request of the police, would examine nuclear materials collected from the scene and cross-checking their characteristics with its database of nuclear materials stored at its facilities nationwide.
Through such nuclear forensics technology, the agency would be able to find out the facility from which the illicitly used materials were obtained and when they were made, along with other information that could lead to criminal prosecution.
Such analysis has so far been conducted by relying on the skills of researchers, but the national research institute hopes the use of AI for cross-checking would expedite the process, according to the officials.
“The speed and reliability of identifying nuclear matter will increase with the use of AI,” said JAEA researcher Yoshiki Kimura. “We will work on its development and hope the technology can be utilized in measures against acts of nuclear terrorism in the future.”