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A rapid dissolution procedure to aid initial nuclear forensics investigations of chemically refractory compounds and particles prior to gamma spectrometry

A rapid dissolution procedure to aid initial nuclear forensics investigations of chemically refractory compounds and particles prior to gamma spectrometry
A rapid dissolution procedure to aid initial nuclear forensics investigations of chemically refractory compounds and particles prior to gamma spectrometry

A rapid and effective preparative procedure has been evaluated for the accurate determination of low-energy (40–200 keV) gamma-emitting radionuclides (210Pb, 234Th, 226Ra, 235U) in uranium ores and uranium ore concentrates (UOCs) using high-resolution gamma ray spectrometry. The measurement of low-energy gamma photons is complicated in heterogeneous samples containing high-density mineral phases and in such situations activity concentrations will be underestimated. This is because attenuation corrections, calculated based on sample mean density, do not properly correct where dense grains are dispersed within a less dense matrix (analogous to a nugget effect). The current method overcomes these problems using a lithium tetraborate fusion that readily dissolves all components including high-density, self-attenuating minerals/compounds. This is the ideal method for dissolving complex, non-volatile components in soils, rocks, mineral concentrates, and other materials where density reduction is required. Lithium borate fusion avoids the need for theoretical efficiency corrections or measurement of matrix matched calibration standards. The resulting homogeneous quenched glass produced can be quickly dissolved in nitric acid producing low-density solutions that can be counted by gamma spectrometry. The effectiveness of the technique is demonstrated using uranium-bearing Certified Reference Materials and provides accurate activity concentration determinations compared to the underestimated activity concentrations derived from direct measurements of a bulk sample. The procedure offers an effective solution for initial nuclear forensic studies where complex refractory minerals or matrices exist. It is also significantly faster, safer and simpler than alternative approaches.
0003-2670
1-9
Reading, David G.
e875ad0e-0316-469b-9e82-f93f48ef4734
Croudace, Ian
24deb068-d096-485e-8a23-a32b7a68afaf
Warwick, Phillip E.
f2675d83-eee2-40c5-b53d-fbe437f401ef
Britton, Richard
cfb33ca1-b225-4e1c-9e34-3b4b66802970
Reading, David G.
e875ad0e-0316-469b-9e82-f93f48ef4734
Croudace, Ian
24deb068-d096-485e-8a23-a32b7a68afaf
Warwick, Phillip E.
f2675d83-eee2-40c5-b53d-fbe437f401ef
Britton, Richard
cfb33ca1-b225-4e1c-9e34-3b4b66802970

Reading, David G., Croudace, Ian, Warwick, Phillip E. and Britton, Richard (2015) A rapid dissolution procedure to aid initial nuclear forensics investigations of chemically refractory compounds and particles prior to gamma spectrometry. Analytica Chimica Acta, 900, 1-9. (doi:10.1016/j.aca.2015.07.047).

Record type: Article

Abstract


A rapid and effective preparative procedure has been evaluated for the accurate determination of low-energy (40–200 keV) gamma-emitting radionuclides (210Pb, 234Th, 226Ra, 235U) in uranium ores and uranium ore concentrates (UOCs) using high-resolution gamma ray spectrometry. The measurement of low-energy gamma photons is complicated in heterogeneous samples containing high-density mineral phases and in such situations activity concentrations will be underestimated. This is because attenuation corrections, calculated based on sample mean density, do not properly correct where dense grains are dispersed within a less dense matrix (analogous to a nugget effect). The current method overcomes these problems using a lithium tetraborate fusion that readily dissolves all components including high-density, self-attenuating minerals/compounds. This is the ideal method for dissolving complex, non-volatile components in soils, rocks, mineral concentrates, and other materials where density reduction is required. Lithium borate fusion avoids the need for theoretical efficiency corrections or measurement of matrix matched calibration standards. The resulting homogeneous quenched glass produced can be quickly dissolved in nitric acid producing low-density solutions that can be counted by gamma spectrometry. The effectiveness of the technique is demonstrated using uranium-bearing Certified Reference Materials and provides accurate activity concentration determinations compared to the underestimated activity concentrations derived from direct measurements of a bulk sample. The procedure offers an effective solution for initial nuclear forensic studies where complex refractory minerals or matrices exist. It is also significantly faster, safer and simpler than alternative approaches.

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More information

Published date: 5 November 2015
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Geochemistry

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 385318
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/385318
ISSN: 0003-2670
PURE UUID: 219beb63-7573-4cb2-a686-4005f8a2e71d
ORCID for David G. Reading: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6697-8525

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Dec 2015 13:37
Last modified: 05 May 2020 00:20

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