Reaction yields on thick zirconium targets with proton, deuteron,3He and4He activation have been measured and compared. The most favorable reaction combining high sensitivity and selectivity was
found to be Zr(p, xn)90Nb. The absolute cross-section for this excitation function has been measured for proton energies up to 20 MeV. Analytical
applications are illustrated with nondestructive zirconium analyses in glass. Yields from the thick target experiments indicate
that the detection limit for this zirconium analysis method is ∼1 ppb.