The status of education in nuclear and radiochemistry in Slovenia is reviewed and elucidated at both undergraduate and graduate
levels. It is observed that both the quantity and the quality of studies have deteriorated during recent years/decades, thus
following similar trends in the developed countries. Presently, no dedicated study of radioactivity is offered within the
country. The main reason for this deterioration is a general decline of interest for studying nuclear sciences and the limited
need for such specialization in a small country such as Slovenia.
Nuclear and isotopic techniques are valuable tools in assessing the levels of environmental pollution by toxic elements and for studying how these contaminants affect human health. More than 90 counterparts from 55 countries around the world have participated in projects on these topics, supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), during last ten years. With the support of the IAEA, for example, an appropriate metrology for compositional characterization of size fractionated airborne particulate matter was developed, verified and implemented in more than 40 countries. This paper reviews the development and application of environmental metrology tools involving nuclear analytical and isotopic techniques, as seen from the particular perspective of IAEA programmes.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been promoting studies on air pollution since 1992. During the period 1992–1999 there have been six major co-ordinated research and regional technical co-operation projects in which 77 counterparts from 40 Member States actively participated. The studies supported by the IAEA have included ambient and workplace airborne particulate matter, the use of appropriate plant biomonitors and a series of laboratory intercomparison exercises in support to these projects. Recent and current IAEA projects in this field are reviewed in the light of the application of neutron activation analysis, which has been used as a major analytical technique by more than two thirds of the counterparts, and contributed also approximately two thirds of all analytical results for the intercomparison exercises.
Special aspects of the uncertainty quantification in k0-NAA are discussed and applied in accordance with the Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement (GUM), on a model
case. The uncertainty budget is calculated highlighting the contribution and the importance of the different parameters to
be taken into account. The importance of the nuclide-specific and neutron fluence-specific approach in estimating individual
uncertainty contributions is emphasized and demonstrated by examples of Au, Cr, Rb, and Sb determinations.
Analysis of lichens and mosses were routinely performed by 17 laboratories from 15 countries around the world, participating
in a project coordinated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). To improve and control the quality of such determinations,
the IAEA organized a two-round interlaboratory exercise, which allowed the detection and removal of most of the pitfalls observed
in the determination of 27 elements. The application of instrumental neutron activation analysis helped reveal poor recoveries
in some laboratories due to incomplete digestion for a number of elements. The exercise emphasized the importance of achieving
comparability of chemical measurements to a recognized reference.
Twenty laboratories from 17 countries around the world participated in two analytical quality control exercises, coded NAT-5
and NAT-6, on determining trace and minor elements in plant bioindicator samples. 1398 laboratory mean values for 51 elements
were submitted for two lichen and two moss materials. The submitted measurement results were evaluated as interlaboratory
comparison (IC) exercises and as proficiency tests (PT) following standard procedures developed by the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA). The evaluations confirmed good performance of the participating laboratories for many elements. Furthermore,
the laboratories performance based on IC criteria improved from the first exercise to the second one. Subsequent NAT-5 evaluation
revealed systematic differences between the analytical values obtained non-destructively or after the total sample dissolution
and the measurements following nitric acid sample dissolution (without the use of hydrofluoric acid) for some elements. The
most critical elements for this kind of discrepancies appeared to be Al, Ca, Cr, Fe, Na, Ni, and Pb. After changing analytical
methodologies in the concerned laboratories, more consistent values for those elements were obtained in NAT-6.
Authors:B. Uralbekov, B. Smodis, and M. Burkitbayev
New data are presented on 238U concentrations in surface and ground waters sampled at selected uranium mining sites in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and in
water supplies of settlements located in the vicinity of these sites. Radiochemical neutron activation analysis (RNAA) was
used for 238U determination in all cases. In addition, for data accuracy assessments purposes, a sub-set of these samples was analysed
by high-resolution alpha spectrometry, following standard radiochemical separation and purification. Our data show that drinking
waters sampled at various settlements located close to the uranium mining sites are characterised by relatively low uranium
concentrations (1.9–35.9 μg L−1) compared to surface waters sampled within the same sites. The latter show high concentrations of total uranium, reflecting
the influence from the radioactive waste generated as a result of uranium ore production.
Quantitative data on trace elements in two tobacco leaf (candidate) reference materials OTL-1 and VTL-2 prepared by the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, Warsaw, Poland, are presented and compard to recommended values, where available. By instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), as well as by radiochemical technique (RNAA) 30 elements were quantitatively determined and fair agreement was found between the results and recommended values for the first material.
Authors:M. Dermelj, A. Byrne, M. Franko, B. Smodiš, and P. Stegnar
In this work the use of the reagents 4-NDP and Na-DDTC in the radiochemical separation of Cd, Co, Cu, Se and Zn from a single aliquot of sample shortly after the end of irradiation in a flux of thermal neutrons is described. The performance of the proposed separation method was tested by means of analyses of these elements in a series of SRMs and good agreement with certified values was obtained.