Authors:K. Norisuye, K. Okamura, Y. Sohrin, H. Hasegawa, and T. Nakanishi
The present paper describes a new analytical method for determining the 240Pu/239Pu isotopic ratio and 238Pu/239+240Pu α -activity ratio in seawater, both of which are important parameters for determining Pu sources in the ocean. Plutonium
isotopes were preconcentrated from a large volume of seawater (4700-10800 liter) by solid phase extraction using MnO2-impregnated fibers and eluted into 3M HCl. After the elution, the Pu species of all oxidation states were converted to Pu(IV)
using NaNO2, purified by solvent extraction using thenoyltrifluoroacetone (TTA)-benzene, and concentrated in 5 ml of 0.2M HNO2. The 240Pu/239Pu and 238Pu/239+240Pu ratios in the 5-ml final solution were determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and α-spectrometry,
respectively. A pg level of Pu, which was a sufficiently large amount for the determination, was obtained by the solid phase
extraction. Through the redox conversion and solvent extraction, the Pu species, such as Pu(III), Pu(IV) and Pu(VI), were
collected at a high recovery of 96±2% (n=3) despite the presence of large amounts of Mn, and interfering 238U (3.3 µg. l-1in seawater) was effectively removed with a decontamination factor of 1.7·107. The accuracy of the method for the 240Pu/239Pu ratio was verified using reference materials of seawater and a terrestrial soil sample. The present technique was applied
to the determination of the 240Pu/239Pu and 238Pu/239+240Pu ratios in coastal and oceanic water.