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Rapid method for determination of plutonium, americium and curium in large soil samples

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Abstract

The analysis of actinides in environmental soil and sediment samples is very important for environmental monitoring. There is a need to measure actinide isotopes with very low detection limits. A new, rapid actinide separation method has been developed and implemented that allows the measurement of plutonium, americium and curium isotopes in large soil samples (100–200 g) with high chemical recoveries and effective removal of matrix interferences. This method uses stacked TEVA Resin®, TRU Resin® and DGA-Resin® cartridges from Eichrom Technologies (Darien, IL, USA) that allows the rapid separation of plutonium (Pu), americium (Am), and curium (Cm) using a single multi-stage column combined with alpha-spectrometry. The method combines an acid leach step and innovative matrix removal using cerium fluoride precipitation to remove the difficult soil matrix. This method is unique in that it provides high tracer recoveries and effective removal of interferences with small extraction chromatography columns instead of large ion-exchange resin columns that generate large amounts of acid waste. By using vacuum box cartridge technology with rapid flow rates, sample preparation time is minimized.

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Correspondence to S. L. Maxwell III.

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Maxwell, S.L. Rapid method for determination of plutonium, americium and curium in large soil samples. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 275, 395–402 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10967-007-7032-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10967-007-7032-3

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