By the use of non-destructive neutron activation analysis (NAA) twenty-four trace (Ag, As, Br, Cd, Ce, Cr, Co, Cu, Eu, Fe, Hf, I, La, Mn, Ni, Rb, Sb, Sc, Se, Sm, Sr, U, V and Zn) and six minor (Ca, Cl, Mg, K, Na and S) elements were determined in a certified marine tissue standard reference material. Four non-destructive methods including thermal, epi-thermal, prompt-gamma ray and delayed neutron counting activation analyses were performed. Results when compared to the certified values showed the reliability of employing these methods in such standards program.
To ascertain the feasibility of using 137Cs and 210Pb in soil erosion models a Compton suppression system with a Be window was used to simultaneous detect both of the naturally occurring isotopes. In particular, the system allowed the use of only 20 g of soil material instead of the usual needed 0.5-1.0 kg in similar soil studies.
The non-destructive methods of thermal and epithermal neutron activation analysis have been employed to determine the aluminum concentration of seven National Institute of Standards and Technology certified biological reference materials. Through the judicious use of both thermal and epithermal neutron activation analysis using bare and boron-lined irradiation carriers, the major and minor contributions of the31P/n, /28Al and of the28Si/n, p/28Al reactions, respectively, to the27Al/n, /28Al reaction could be corrected for explicitly. Based on replicate determinations precision of the analysis ranged from 2.5% for citrus leaves determined at the 75 ppm level to 18% for bovine liver measured at the 1 ppm level. Accuracy was demonstrated whenever possible by comparison to existing published data.
Instrumental neutron activation analysis was used to determine selenium concentrations in several marine organisms including two certified reference materials /NRCC lobster hepatopancreas, NBS oyster tissue/ and one uncertified material /IAEA fish homogenate/. The76Se/n, /77mSe/T=17.4 s/ reaction was successfully employed to achieve an overall precision between 3–10% and detection limits between 0.3–0.6 g/g. The accuracy of the results, as compared to the certified values, was in excellent agreement with the NBS material and only slightly lower /9%/ for the NRCC material.
Highly enriched concentrations of several heavy metals have been found in municipal solid waste incinerator (MSWI) ash. In an effort to identify possible sources of these metals in MSWI ash, a variety of disposable household plastic products was examined for heavy metal content. Using both thermal and epithermal neutron activation analysis (NAA) along with Compton suppression techniques, concentrations of several trace and heavy metals including Ag, As, Au, Ba, Br, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Sb, Se, Sn, Sr, V, W and Zn were determined. Results indicate a wide range of concentrations for these elements, with large variations in plastics of similar color and intended use. As limits dealing with heavy metal content of consumer products are lowered, NAA techniques will provide a useful method for verification of product compliance.
As part of an ongoing Great Lakes deposition study, we have determined a series of heavy metals in air filter samples collected near Lake Ontario. To decrease our detection limits for key elements used in our receptor modeling, we have employed instrumental epithermal neutron activation analysis (NAA) and Compton suppression techniques. Our detection limits were much better than those with thermal NAA, typically, 0.3 ng for Sb, 0.7 ng for As, 8 ng for Cd, 0.2 ng for In, 14 ng for I, 5 ng for Mo and 2 ng for U. Silicon, which is usually not reported in conventional NAA results for air filters, was routinely determined at the 60 g level. Accuracy was corroborated by analyzing the certified reference material concurrently.
Over the last six years through a Department of Energy Radiochemistry Education Award Program (REAP) we have developed a completely
web-based course in nuclear and radiochemistry given at the University of Texas at Austin. This course has had nuclear and
radiation engineering and chemistry graduate students. While the course also has an extensive laboratory component only the
lectures are web based. The lectures begin with a historical introduction of radiochemistry followed by two movies on Madame
Curie. This is followed by the usual lectures on radioactivity, fundamental properties, radioactive decay, decay modes, and
nuclear reactions. As section on radioactive waste management and nuclear fuel cycle is also presented. Lectures in neutron
activation analysis, geo- and cosmochemistry, and plutonium chemistry have also been developed. All lectures are in power
point with many animations and a significant number of solved problems. All students are required to make a short oral presentation
on some aspect of nuclear and radiochemistry in their research or a chosen topic.
Cesium is a member of the Group I alkali metals, very reactive earth metals that react vigorously with both air and water.
The chemistry of cesium is much like the chemistry of neighboring elements on the periodic table, potassium and rubidium.
This close relation creates many problems in plant-life exposed to cesium because it is so easily confused for potassium,
an essential nutrient to plants. Radioactive 134Cs and 137Cs are also chemically akin to potassium and stable cesium. Uptake of these radioactive isotopes from groundwater by plant-life
destroys the plant-life and can potentially expose humans to the radioactive affects of 134Cs and 137Cs. Much experimental work has been focused on the separation of 137Cs from uranium fission products. In previous experimental work performed a column consisting of Kel-F supporting tetraphenylboron
(TPB) was utilized to separate 137Cs from uranium fission products. It is of interest at this time to attempt the separation of 134Cs from 0.01M EDTA using the same method and Neoflon in the place of Kel-F as the inert support. The results of this experiment
give a separation efficiency of 88% and show a linear relationship between the column bed length and the separation efficiency
The centification of standard reference materials is of fundamental importance for environmental scientists to proceed with their own quality control programs or calibration procedures. As part of the National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) program, we participated in the certification of a hazardous waste material. Our efforts concentrated on judiciously using thermal and epithermal neutron activation analysis in conjunction with Compton suppression techniques. We have demonstrated that besides lowering the detection limit for several elements usually not reported by conventional NAA, Compton suppression is ideally suited to substantially reduce certain spectrla interferences. A detailed comprehensive study was undertaken using this method to highlight which isotopes can be most favorably used.
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.