The Savannah River Site Environmental Bioassay Lab participated in the 2008 NRIP Emergency Response program administered by
the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in May, 2008. A new rapid column separation method was used for
analysis of actinides and 90Sr in the NRIP 2008 emergency water and urine samples. Significant method improvements were applied to reduce analytical times.
As a result, much faster analysis times were achieved, less than 3 hours for determination of 90Sr and 3–4 hours for actinides. This represents a 25%–33% improvement in analysis times from NRIP 2007 and a ∼100% improvement
compared to NRIP 2006 report times. Column flow rates were increased by a factor of two, with no significant adverse impact
on the method performance. Larger sample aliquots, shorter count times, faster cerium fluoride microprecipitation and streamlined
calcium phosphate precipitation were also employed. Based on initial feedback from NIST, the SRS Environmental Bioassay Lab
had the most rapid analysis times for actinides and 90Sr analyses for NRIP 2008 emergency urine samples. High levels of potential matrix interferences may be present in emergency
samples and rugged methods are essential. Extremely high levels of 210Po were found to have an adverse effect on the uranium results for the NRIP-08 urine samples, while uranium results for NRIP-08
water samples were not affected. This problem, which was not observed for NRIP-06 or NRIP-07 urine samples, was resolved by
using an enhanced 210Po removal step, which will be described.