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  • 1 Washington State University Department of Chemistry and Nuclear Radiation Center Pullman P.O. Box 644630 WA 99164-4630 USA
  • 2 Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 902 Battelle Boulevard P.O. Box 999 Richland WA 99352 USA
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Abstract  

The simultaneous determination of multiple actinide isotopes in samples where total quantity is limited can sometimes present a unique challenge for radioanalytical chemists. In this study, re-determination of 238Pu, 239+240Pu, and 241Am for soils collected and analyzed approximately three decades ago was the goal, along with direct determination of 241Pu. The soils had been collected in the early 1970’s from a shallow land burial site for radioactive wastes called the Subsurface Disposal Area (SDA) at the Idaho National Lab (INL), analyzed for 238Pu, 239+240Pu, and 241Am, and any remaining soils after analysis had been archived and stored. We designed an approach to reanalyze the 238Pu, 239+240Pu, and 241Am and determine for the first time 241Pu using a combination of traditional and new radioanalytical methodologies. The methods used are described, along with estimates of the limits of detection for gamma-and alpha-spectrometry, and liquid scintillation counting. Comparison of our results to the earlier work documents the ingrowth of 241Am from 241Pu, and demonstrates that the total amount of 241Am activity in these soil samples is greater than would be expected due to ingrowth from 241Pu decay.