Rapid determination of 90Sr/90Y in water samples by liquid scintillation and Cherenkov counting
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Strontium-90 (90Sr) is a ubiquitous contaminant at nuclear facilities, found at high concentrations in spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. Due to its long half-life and ability to be transported in groundwater, an accurate method for measuring 90Sr in water samples is critical to the monitoring program of any nuclear facility. To address this need, a rapid procedure for sequential separation of Sr/Y was developed and tested in groundwater samples collected from an area of riverbed affected by a 90Sr groundwater plume. Sixteen samples, plus spike and water blanks, were analyzed. Five different measurements were performed to determine the 90Sr and yttrium-90 (90Y) activities in the samples: direct triple-to-double-coincidence ratio (TDCR) Cherenkov counting of 90Y, liquid scintillation (LS) counting for 90Sr following radiochemical separation, LS counting for 90Y following radiochemical separation, Cherenkov counting for 90Y following radiochemical separation and LS counting of the Sr samples for 90Y in-growth. The counting was done using a low-level Hidex 300SL TDCR counter. Each measurement method was compared for accuracy, sensitivity and efficiency. The results following Cherenkov counting and radiochemical separation were in very good agreement with one another.
KeywordsRadiostrontium Liquid scintillation counting Cherenkov counting Water Monitoring
The authors acknowledge the financial support from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL).
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