NBL develops and maintains state-of-the-art measurement technology with priority given to methods needed to respond to identified customer requirements and to those methods essential for certification of reference materials. Research conducted includes the chemical and instrumental measurement of elemental and isotopic compositions of a broad spectrum of material types. Major NBL accomplishments have been oriented towards development and reporting of reliable and rapid methods, directly traceable to national and international standards, for the assay of uranium- and plutonium-containing materials. Examples include modification of an existing reduction-oxidation titration method into a procedure for the determination of uranium now used as the primary titrimetric procedure in most laboratories around the world; development of an automated controlled-potential coulometric determination of plutonium; and development of isotopic analysis methods for solid, liquid, and gaseous samples on a variety of computer-controlled mass spectrometers. Recently, waste minimization initiatives have been driving use of smaller samples with no loss of precision to minimize wastes generated from analytical operations and/or have been oriented towards eliminating the formation of mixed-waste materials. The results of such research are published as part of NBL's technology transfer mission.
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