Research Topics

Nuclear Emergencies

We investigate the environmental impacts of major nuclear accidents, such as Chernobyl and Fukushima. Our focus is both on major (131I, 134,137Cs, etc.) and minor contaminants, i.e. those that have been released to a smaller extent and/or are difficult to measure (e.g., 3H, 90Sr, 107Pd, 135Cs, Pu, etc.). Our focus is not only on overcoming analytical challenges, but also on understanding the nature of an accident. We are targeting relevant questions such as food safety as well as preparedness for future nuclear accidents.

Atmospheric Nuclear Releases

Our group collaborates with global and European atmospheric monitoring networks and contributes to the understanding of major (such as the Fukushima plume in 2011 or the releases of 106Ru in 2017) and minor nuclear releases (e.g., sporadic releases of 131I from medical applications, wildfires inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone etc.). Our focus is on the forensic elucidation of the source and the circumstances of a release.

Environmental Nuclear Forensics

Understanding the nature and origin of a contamination as well as the circumstances of its release requires a forensic approach. The focus of our work is not necessarily on radiation protection but rather on a holistic understanding of the very nature of a radionuclide in the environment. We develop methods and concepts that will allow a contamination to “tell its story.”

Historical Nuclear Forensics

We are interested in historical questions that require a forensic approach. From the undiscovered discovery of the neutron by Carl Auer von Welsbach to nuclear materials with historical relevance that disappeared (almost) without a trace… we will study materials and archives to clarify what needs clarification.


We develop analytical methods for the determination of ultra-trace amounts of radionuclides by radioanalytical methods as well as mass spectrometry. The TRIGA Center Atominstitut operates Austria’s last nuclear research reactor that can be used for neutron activation analysis of stable elements and long-lived radionuclides.

Synthetic Chemistry of the f-Block Elements and Radioactive Materials

Together with the group of Prof. Peter Weinberger, we synthesize compounds of the f-block elements to understand their coordination chemistry behavior. Our focus is on the synthesis of novel coordination compounds with weakly coordinating ligands (tetrazole derivatives) that allow us exploring the gadolinium break. A new topic in our group will be molybdenum and technetium chemistry.

Head of Research Group

Georg Steinhauser

Univ.Prof. Dr. Georg Steinhauser

Getreidemarkt 9/163
1060 Vienna

Stadionallee 2
1020 Vienna