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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: M. Barr, L. Schulte, G. Jarvinen, J. Espinoza, T. Ricketts, Y. Valdez, K. Abney, and R. Bartsch

Abstract  

Plutonium recovery operations offer several points at which americium removal may be attempted, and we are evaluating two classes of materials targeted at different steps in the process. Extraction chromatography resin materials loaded with three different alkylcarbamoyl phosphinates and phosphine oxides are assessed for Am removal efficiency and Am/Fe selectivity from 1–7M nitric acid solutions. Commercial and experimental anion exchange resins are evaluated for total alpha-activity removal from post-evaporator solutions whose composition, relative to the original nitric acid effluent, is reduced in acid and greatly increased in total salt content. With both classes of materials, americium and/or total-alpha reduction is sufficient to meet regulatory requirements even under sub-optimal conditions. Batch distribution coefficients and column performance data are presented.

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Abstract  

A rapid separation method has been developed which allows measurement of plutonium, americium and strontium isotopes in the radioactive sludge from Nuclear power plant A1 Jaslovske Bohunice (NPP A1) with high chemical recoveries and effective removal of matrix interferences. This method uses different commercial products stacked AnaLig® Pu02, AnaLig® Sr01 and TRU® Resin cartridges from IBC Advanced Technologies and Eichrom Technologies. The method allows the rapid separation of plutonium, strontium and americium using a single multi-stage column in the vacuum box (cartridge technology) with rapid flow rates to minimize sample separation time. The 239,240Pu, 238Pu and 241Am were determined by alpha spectroscopy, 90Sr was counted on TRICARB 2900 TR by Cerenkov counting of its progeny 90Y.

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Summary  

Sediment samples from the Romanian sector of the Danube River and the Black Sea coast were analyzed for Pu and Am. Three different ways of bringing the samples into solution were tested: acid attack, microwave digestion and alkaline fusion. A conventional anion-exchange resin was used to separate plutonium from other radionuclides and several variants were tried to improve the separation of americium. The preparation of thin sources for alpha-spectrometry was tested through electrodeposition and coprecipitation with Nd(III). Discussion and recommendations for the dissolution step, the americium separation and preparation of alpha sources are made.

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