An alternative separation procedure for 90Sr age dating using DGA Resin
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The likelihood of an attack by a terrorist organization using a radiological dispersal device (RDD) is much higher than that of an attack with an improvised nuclear device or true nuclear weapon, as much less technical expertise is required to build an RDD. Consequently, there has been an effort to develop methods for age-dating radiological sealed sources in recent years. One such procedure, described by Steeb et al., is used for determining the age of 90Sr sources. That procedure utilized a rather expensive extraction chromatography resin and was based on an uncommon apparatus with limited sample capacity for the separation step. The procedure also left the Zr fraction contaminated with the radioactive 90Y daughter nuclide. The present work investigates using an alternative separation scheme that utilizes a less costly resin in a widely available column configuration and results in the isolation of 90Sr’s stable granddaughter, 90Zr, without 90Y contamination. This allows the zirconium quantification to be done with a mass spectrometer outside the radiological environment and increases the number of instruments capable of making the measurement, which could allow measurements to be made more quickly.
KeywordsExtraction chromatography 90Sr RDD Age dating Diglycolamide resin Nuclear forensics
This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under Contract Number HSHQDN-16-X-00011. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
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