Article

Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry

, Volume 281, Issue 3, pp 425-432

First online:

A new method for the determination of plutonium and americium using high pressure microwave digestion and alpha-spectrometry or ICP-SMS

  • Fabienne LuisierAffiliated withUniversity Institute of Radiation Physics, University Hospital Center, University of Lausanne
  • , José Antonio Corcho AlvaradoAffiliated withUniversity Institute of Radiation Physics, University Hospital Center, University of Lausanne
  • , Philipp SteinmannAffiliated withConsumer Protection, Radiation Protection, Swiss Federal Office of Public Health
  • , Michael KrachlerAffiliated withInstitute of Geosciences, University of Heidelberg
  • , Pascal FroidevauxAffiliated withUniversity Institute of Radiation Physics, University Hospital Center, University of Lausanne Email author 

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Abstract

Plutonium and americium are radionuclides particularly difficult to measure in environmental samples because they are α-emitters and therefore necessitate a careful separation before any measurement, either using radiometric methods or ICP-SMS. Recent developments in extraction chromatography resins such as Eichrom® TRU and TEVA have resolved many of the analytical problems but drawbacks such as low recovery and spectral interferences still occasionally occur. Here, we report on the use of the new Eichrom® DGA resin in association with TEVA resin and high pressure microwave acid leaching for the sequential determination of plutonium and americium in environmental samples. The method results in average recoveries of 83 ± 15% for plutonium and 73 ± 22% for americium (n = 60), and a less than 10% deviation from reference values of four IAEA reference materials and three samples from intercomparisons exercises. The method is also suitable for measuring 239Pu in water samples at the μBq/l level, if ICP-SMS is used for the measurement.

Keywords

Plutonium Americium Microwaves digestion TEVA resin DGA resin ICP-SMS