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  • 1 University of Illinois Department of Nuclear Engineering 61801 Urbana IL (USA)
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In order to determine the elemental concentrations of three new soil standard reference materials SRMs 2709, 2710 and 2711 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a comparative study of different medium-lived neutron activation analysis methods was carefully performed. Three irradiation conditions (1-hour thermal, 1-hour epithermal and 5-minute epithermal) and two counting modes (normal and Compton suppression) have been evaluated for following ten elements: As, Au, Cd, Ga, K, La, Mo, Sb, Sm, and W. The results show that the method of 5-minute epithermal and a 1-day decay is the optimum way to analyze Ga, while the addition of the Compton suppression is very beneficial for the determination of K. Using the Compton suppression system in conjunction with the 1-hour epithermal and a 1-week decay, is ideal to determine Au, Cd, Mo and W, while routine 1-hour thermal and a 1-week decay, is adequate to determine As, Sb, Sm and La in concentrations found in soil.