Identification of uraninite provenance for the purpose of nuclear forensics requires a multifaceted approach. Various geochemical signatures, such as chondrite normalized rare earth element patterns, help identify and limit the potential sources of uraninite based on the geological setting of the uranium ore mineralization. The inclusion of accurate age determinations to discriminate geochemical signatures for natural uranium ores may help to potentially restrict geographical areas for provenance consideration. Determining a robust age for uraninite formation is somewhat difficult, due to well known, inherent difficulties associated with open system behavior that involve either uranium and/or lead loss or gain. However, open system behavior should not perturb their Pb isotopic compositions to the same degree as Pb isotopes should not fractionate during alteration processes. Here, a suite of pristine and altered samples of uraninite was examined for their Pb isotope compositions, and these yielded geologically meaningful secondary Pb–Pb isochron ages. The degree of alteration within individual uraninite samples, which is extremely variable, does not appear to affect the calculated ages. The approach adopted here yields insightful age information, and hence, is of great value for source attribution in forensic analyses of raw nuclear materials.
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