The present paper reviews briefly the recent advance in radioanalysis of low level plutonium in environmental and biological samples. Lots of new radiochemical methods for determination of plutonium in aerosols, natural waters, soil, sediments and various biological materials have been developed. The use and prospects of several radiochemical procedures are discussed.
Cesium isotopes and90Sr have been determined in the inflow and outflow rivers of a Norwegian subalpine lake. The lake is situated in an area contaminated by Chernobyl fallout. Sampling was carried out during the spring peak discharge period associated with snowmelt. Transported coatse particulate plant material was collected by traps. Particles and colloids were removed from water samples by hollow fibre ultrafiltration. The results illustrate that run-off during the spring snowmelt is an important pathway for these radionuclides. The cesium isotopes are predominantly transported as colloids, while90Sr is present in the form of low molecular weight mobile species. Based on lake budget calculations, more than 50% of the cesium input is retained in the lake, while more than 90% of the90Sr is transported through the lake and into lower parts of the drainage system.
Authors:G. Riise, H. Bjørnstad, H. Lien, D. Oughton, and B. Salbu
Measurements performed in 1986–1988 demonstrate that most of the radiocesium isotopes (137Cs and134Cs) deposited after the Chernobyl accident are still located in the upper soil layers (0–2 cm). The vertical migration appears to be slow, and only a small fraction of the radiocesium has been transferred into the biological cycle. Sequential extraction techniques have been utilized in order to investigate the degree of binding or association between deposited radionuclides (137Cs,134Cs and90Sr) and components in soil. The results indicate that a major fraction of the radiocesium is associated strongly with organic and mineral materials in the litter or upper soil layers: less than 10% is easily leachable. The distribution of137Cs throughout the fractions was similar to that determined for naturally occurring stable cesium (133Cs), implying that isotopic exchange had been extensive. For90Sr, the results show a relatively high leachable fraction. Therefore, present results indicate that radiocesium should be less mobile, and less available for root uptake, than90Sr in soil.
Authors:H. Bjørnstad, H. Lien, Yu-Fu Yu, and B. Salbu
Low level90Sr in environmental and biological samples is determined using a combined HDEHP solvent extraction-liquid scintillation procedure. Yttrium-90 is selectively extracted from nitric acid solution into 5% di(2-ethylhexyl) phosphoric acid (HDEHP) in toluene, and90Y in the organic phase is measured directly using an ultra low level liquid scintillation spectrometer.The working program of the Quantulus counter has been optimized. As the counting efficiency using liquid scintillation counting is high and the stripping and precipitation of Yttrium-90 oxalate is omitted, this procedure is simpler and more timesaving than traditional methods. The chemical recoveries of90Y were 85.1% for soil, 75.7% for milk and 65.3% for bone. The detection limit is 8 mBq.
Authors:Yu Yu-fu, B. Salbu, H. Bjørnstad, and H. Lien
An improvement of -energy resolution for determining low level plutonium has been investigated using combined solvent extraction-low level liquid scintillation counter. In the present work, -energy resolution of 270–290 keV for liquid scintillation spectra of236Pu and239Pu is attained. Thus the simultaneous determination of low level plutonium with -liquid scintillation spectrometry may be practized.
Authors:B. Salbu, H. Bjørnstad, E. Lydersen, and A. Pappas
Due to the interaction with components present in natural waters, radionuclides may be present in different physico-chemical forms, varying in size, charge and density. The distribution pattern will influence the transport, mobility and biological uptake of the radionuclides. Size fractionation based on hollow fiber is useful for the determination of the size distribution pattern of radionuclides in natural waters. Furthermore, a continuous mixing and separation system has been developed for the investigation of the association of radionuclides with naturally occurring colloids. Results based on radionuclides in waste water from the Forsmark nuclear power plant, Sweden, will illustrate the potential usefulness of the technique.