Machine learning detection methods using gamma signatures from spectral measurements of low-intensity Pu-239 and U-235 sources are studied. NaI detectors located at different distances from
the source have been used to collect the training and independent testing data sets. The source is introduced via a shielded conduit into the facility where it is surrounded by 21 NaI detectors deployed over 6 x 6 meters area in the formation of two concentric circles and a spiral. The counts in gamma spectral regions associated with these two sources are estimated at 1 second intervals for each NaI detector, and are used as classifier features for detecting the source presence. Eight different classifiers with five basic properties — namely, smooth, non-smooth, statistical, structural, and hyper-parameter tuning — are trained and tested using the background and source measurements collected over multiple experimental runs. While the overall classifier performance improved as detectors closer to the source are used, some identically produced detectors under-performed but differently between two sources. Some classifiers achieved lower training error but their testing error based on independent measurements is higher for both sources. Overall, these results indicate significant over-fitting by these methods, and illustrate the complexity of training and selecting the machine learning methods to solve these detection problems.