Broad scope educational activities at the Neutron Activation Analysis Laboratory (NAAL) associated with the 100 kW University of Florida Training Reactor (UFTR) have been implemented to serve a diverse and multidisciplinary academic clientele to meet a wide spectrum of educational needs for students at all academic levels. Educational usage of the complementary laboratory facilities is described and the importance of such academic experimental experience is emphasized for developing and maintaining a cadre of professionals in the analytical applications of nuclear energy. The synergistic operation of the NAAL and the reactor at the University of Florida to serve as a model worthy of emulation for other similar facilities is emphasized.
Several instrumental neutron activation analysis techniques (parametric, comparative, and ko-standardization) are evaluated using three reference materials. Each technique is applied to National Institute of Standards and Technology standard reference materials, SRM 1577a (Bovine Liver) and SRM 2704 (Buffalo River Sediment), and the United States Geological Survey standard BHVO-1 (Hawaiian Basalt Rock). Identical (but not optimum) irradiation, decay, and counting schemes are employed with each technique to provide a basis for comparison and to determine sensitivities in a routine irradiation scheme. Fifty-one elements are used in this comparison; however, several elements are not detected in the reference materials due to rigid analytical conditions (e.g., insufficient length of irradiation or activity for radioisotope of interest decaying below the lower limit of detection before counting interval). Most elements are normally distributed around certified or consensus values with a standard deviation of 10%. For some elements, discrepancies are observed and discussed. The accuracy, precision, and sensitivity of each technique are discussed by comparing the analytical results to consensus values for the Hawaiian Basalt Rock to demonstrate the diversity of multielement applications.