Measurement of uranium and its isotopes at trace levels in environmental samples using mass spectrometry
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Actinides have widely entered the environment as a result of nuclear accidents and atmospheric weapon testing. These radionuclides, especially uranium, are outstanding radioactive pollutants, due to their high radiotoxicity and long half-lives. In addition to this, since depleted uranium (DU) has been used in the Balkan conflict in 1999, there has been a concern about the possible consequences of its use for the people and environment. Therefore, accurate, precise and simple determination methods are necessary in order to evaluate the human dose and the concentration and effects of these nuclides in the environment. The principal isotopes of uranium e.g.235U and 238U are of primordial origin and 234U present in radioactive equilibrium with 238U. 236U occurs in nature at ultra trace concentrations with a 236U: 238U atom ratio of 10−14. Concentrations of uranium in soil samples were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and isotope ratios of uranium were measured using a thermal ionisation mass spectrometer. Radioactive dis-equilibrium of 234/238U, depletion of 235/238U and significant evidence of 236U/238U were noticed in soil samples.
KeywordsSoil 234U 235U 236U 238U DU ICP-MS TIMS
PACS Nos.91.67.Qr 07.75.+h 92.60.Sz
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