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Rapid Determination of Actinides in Emergency Urine Samples

Published Time:2016-12-12
Summary of Method

Uranium, Plutonium, and Americium-Curium are separated and concentrated from 100mL urine samples using calcium phosphate precipitation. The precipitate is dissolved in HNO3-H2O2 and wet ashed to destroy residual organic material. The wet-ashed residue is dissolved in nitric acid and aluminum nitrate. Actinides are separated from matrix impurities and potentially interfering radionuclides in the sample using 2mL cartridges of Eichrom TEVA and TRU Resins. Actinides are measured by alpha spectrometry following source preparation by cerium fluoride microprecipitation onto Eichrom Resolve® Filters. Chemical yields are determined by recovery of 232U, 243Am, and 242Pu (or 236Pu, if measuring 237Np) tracers. Typical chemical recoveries are >90%. A single operator can complete the separation method for batches of 12-24 samples in as little as 4-5 hours.

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