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Abstract  

The Intercomparison Studies Program (ISP) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL, Oak Ridge, TN, USA) provides natural-matrix urine quality-assurance/quality-control (QA/QC) samples to radiobioassay analysis laboratories. In 2003, a single laboratory (Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL, Los Alamos NM USA) requested a change in the test-samples provided previously by the ISP. The change was requested to evaluate measurement performance for analyses conducted using thermal-ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS). Radionuclides included 239Pu at two activity levels (75–150 μBq·sample−1 and 1200–1600 μBq·sample−1) and 238Pu (3700–7400 μBq·sample−1). In addition, 240Pu was added to the samples so that the 239+240Pu specific activity was 3700–7400 μBq·sample−1. In this paper, the results of testing during the period May, 2003 through September, 2005 are presented and discussed.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: S. P. LaMont, T. R. LaBone, J. R. Cadieux, W. M. Findley, G. Hall, C. R. Shick, D. W. Efurd, and R. E. Steiner

Summary  

The lung dissolution rates for PuO2 were determined using a 100 day in vitro experiment. A very small amount of the PuO2 rapidly dissolved with a half-time of approximately 10 days, while the majority of the material (>99%) dissolved with a half-time of approximately 5 . 105 days. This dissolution half time is significantly longer than what is recommended by the ICRP, and would result in higher calculated doses for inhalation intakes of PuO2 than those currently estimated by the ICRP 66 human respiratory tract model for radiological protection.

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Summary  

As a follow up to the initial 1998 intercomparison study, a second study was initiated in 2001 as part of the ongoing evaluation of the capabilities of various ultra-sensitive methods to analyze 239Pu in urine samples. The initial study1 was sponsored by the Department of Energy, Office of International Health Programs to evaluate and validate new technologies that may supersede the existing fission tract analysis (FTA) method for the analysis of 239Pu in urine at the µBq/l level. The ultra-sensitive techniques evaluated in the second study included accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) by LLNL, thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) by LANL and FTA by the University of Utah. Only the results for the mass spectrometric methods will be presented. For the second study, the testing levels were approximately 4, 9, 29 and 56 µBq of 239Pu per liter of synthetic urine. Each test sample also contained 240Pu at a 240Pu/239Pu atom ratio of ~0.15 and natural uranium at a concentration of 50 µBq/ml. From the results of the two studies, it can be inferred that the best performance at the µBq level is more laboratory specific than method specific. The second study demonstrated that LANL-TIMS and LLNL-AMS had essentially the same quantification level for both isotopes. Study results for bias and precision and acceptable performance compared to ANSI N13.30 and ANSI N42.22 have been compiled.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: L. Tandon, E. Hastings, J. Banar, J. Barnes, D. Beddingfield, D. Decker, J. Dyke, D. Farr, J. FitzPatrick, D. Gallimore, S. Garner, R. Gritzo, T. Hahn, G. Havrilla, B. Johnson, K. Kuhn, S. LaMont, D. Langner, C. Lewis, V. Majidi, P. Martinez, R. McCabe, S. Mecklenburg, D. Mercer, S. Meyers, V. Montoya, B. Patterson, R. Pereyra, D. Porterfield, J. Poths, D. Rademacher, C. Ruggiero, D. Schwartz, M. Scott, K. Spencer, R. Steiner, R. Villarreal, H. Volz, L. Walker, A. Wong, and C. Worley

Abstract  

The goal of nuclear forensics is to establish an unambiguous link between illicitly trafficked nuclear material and its origin. The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Nuclear Materials Signatures Program has implemented a graded “conduct of operations” type analysis flow path approach for determining the key nuclear, chemical, and physical signatures needed to identify the manufacturing process, intended use, and origin of interdicted nuclear material. This analysis flow path includes both destructive and non-destructive characterization techniques and has been exercized against different nuclear materials from LANL’s special nuclear materials archive. Results obtained from the case study will be presented to highlight analytical techniques that offer the critical attribution information.

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