Authors:S. Landsberger, D. J. O'Kelly, J. Braisted, and S. Panno
Halides, particularly Br- and Cl-, have been used as indicators of potential sources of Na+ and Cl- in surface water and groundwater with limited success. Contamination of groundwater and surface water by Na+ and Cl- is a common occurrence in growing urban areas and adversely affects municipal and private water supplies in Illinois and
other states, as well as vegetation in environmentally sensitive areas. Neutron activation analysis (NAA) can be effectively
used to determine these halogens, but often the elevated concentrations of sodium and chlorine in water samples can give rise
to very high detection limits for bromine and iodine due to elevated backgrounds from the activation process. We present a
detailed analytical scheme to determine Cl, Br and I in aqueous samples with widely varying Na and Cl concentrations using
epithermal NAA in conjunction with Compton suppression.
Authors:J. Weaver, W. Wilson, S. Biegalski, and D. O’Kelly
Neutron activation analysis was used to investigate and quantify the level of heavy metal uptake in the marine environment
of Lake Austin in Austin, TX. Specifically, the samples studied were largemouth bass, or micropterus salmoides. The presence of heavy metals in the food chain presents multiple hazards, mostly as a food hazard for those species that
ingest the fish, namely humans. To measure the concentrations of heavy metals in various fish samples, the nuclear analytical
technique of neutron activation analysis (NAA) was used. Both epithermal and thermal irradiations were conducted for the NAA
to look for short and long-lived radioisotopes, respectively. The samples themselves consisted of liver and tissue samples
for each of the fish caught. Each sample was freeze-dried and homogenized before irradiation and spectrum acquisition. The
results showed that all levels of heavy metals were not sufficient enough to make the fish unsafe for eating, with the highest
levels being found for iron and zinc. Gold was found to be at much higher concentrations in the younger fish and virtually
non-existent in the larger of the samples.
Authors:S. Landsberger, D. J. O'Kelly, S. Biegalski, S. O'Kelly, K. Foltz Biegalski, L. Welch, and L. Katz
In the past few years there has been renewed worldwide interest in the re-establishment of various nuclear and radiochemistry
disciplines in the hope of training the next generation of skilled researchers in this area. In the United States there continues
to be an acute shortage of MSc and PhD level trained students, particularly at the Department of Energy national laboratories.
As a result of this critical need the Department of Energy established a Radiochemistry Education Award Program (REAP) in
the late 1990's to address this issue. Several universities were awarded funding to establish various complimentary programs.
One of the main goals of the REAP at the University of Texas was to establish a web-based graduate level course with associated
labs and to have interactions with the national laboratories.
Authors:S. Landsberger, S. R. Biegalski, D. J. O’Kelly, and M. S. Basunia
In the last decade Compton suppressed neutron activation analysis has had increasing popularity as a powerful method to significantly lower backgrounds and reduce overlapping peaks caused by spectral or nuclear interferences. We give a detailed descriptive evaluation of the unique features of this technique and its usefulness in many areas of research employing non-destructive neutron activation analysis.
Authors:S. Landsberger, A. Plionis, S. Biegalski, K. Foltz-Biegalski, E. Schneider, D. O’Kelly, J. Braisted, S. O’Kelly, and L. Welch
Over the last three years we have developed a very robust nuclear and radiochemistry program at The University of Texas at
Austin. The cornerstone of support was the DOE Radiochemistry Educational Award Program (REAP) that was awarded from 2002–2005.
A second award for the period of 2005–2008 was just received. This award has enabled us to support many educational activities
from vanguard classroom instruction, to laboratory enhancements, to research activities at the graduate and undergraduate
levels. Both traditional radiochemistry and advanced topics in nuclear instrumentation have been supported. Various DOE university
programs, national lab funding and IAEA fellowship grants, have allowed the Nuclear and Radiation Engineering Program at the
University of Texas to be at the forefront of nuclear and radiochemistry educational and research activities and help secure
the next generation of needed expertise.