An improved actinide separation method for environmental samples
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This paper presents a rapid method of separation of five actinide elements (Th, U, Np, Pu, and Am) for aqueous media samples. This separation method utilizes the unique chemistries of the actinides at low concentrations1,2 and the properties of the EIChroM TRU-ResinTM extraction resin. In order to cleanly recover the five actinides from aqueous samples or solubilized soil samples, the sample is passed through the column twice. The sample is first loaded in an HCl solution with hydrogen peroxide. This allows the Am and most matrix ions to pass through the column. Then the Th is eluted using dilute HCl followed by the Np and Pu which are eluted together with oxalic acid in dilute HCl solution. Finally, the U is eluted with ammonium oxalate solution. A calcium-oxalate coprecipitation is performed on the original load solution containing the Am ions and the dissolved precipitate is then reloaded onto the TRU-ResinTM column in HNO3 with ascorbic acid. The procedure requires approximately 1.5 working days for experienced technicians, greatly reduces waste, and generally results in actinide recoveries of 80–100%.
KeywordsAscorbic Acid Oxalate Oxalic Acid Environmental Sample Separation Method
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