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  • Author or Editor: D. Watkins x
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Abstract  

A faster, more cost-effective, and higher-quality data acquisition for natural background-level metals and radionuclides in soils is needed for remedial investigations of contaminated sites. The advantages and disadvantages of neutron activation analysis (NAA) compared with those of acid-digestion-based spectrometry (ADS) methods were evaluated using Al, Sb, As, Cr, Co, Fe, Mg, Mn, Hg, K, Ag,232Th,235U,238U, V, and Zn data. The ADS methods used for this project were inductively coupled plasma (ICP), ICP-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), and alpha spectrometry. Scatter plots showed that the NAA results for As, Co, Fe, Mn,232Th, and238U are reasonably correlated with the results from the other analytical methods. Compared to NAA, however, the ADS methods underestimated Al, Cr, Mg, K, V, and Zn. Because of the high detection limits of ADS methods, the scatter plots of Sb, Hg, and Ag did not show a definite relationship. The NAA results were highly correlated with the alpha spectrometry results for232Th and238U but poorly correlated for235U. The NAA, including the delayed neutron counting, was a far superior technique for quantifying background levels of radionuclides (232Th,235U, and238U) and metals (Al, Cr, Mg, K, V, and Zn) in soils.

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