Nuclear Safeguards instruments employ gamma ray, neutron and calorimetry measurement technologies to verify and quantify the presence of Special Nuclear Materials (SNM).

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Safeguards instruments either verify the radioactive fingerprint or signature of SNM and fission products (for example in spent nuclear fuel), or quantify SNM in bulk form (for example in unused nuclear fuel for verification purposes).

Safeguards instruments are sometimes used for nuclear materials assay for inventory and materials quantification purposes as well as for safeguards, for example in a nuclear fuel production plant.