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Under-estimation of 210 Pb in industrial radioactive scales

Under-estimation of 210 Pb in industrial radioactive scales
Under-estimation of 210 Pb in industrial radioactive scales
Lead-210 (210Pb) can be present at high activity concentrations, in residues arising from the petroleum, mineral processing and chemical industries. Although 210Pb itself poses a low radiological risk, the nuclide decays via 210Bi to the alpha emitting and highly radiotoxic 210Po. Therefore, rapid, accurate determination of 210Pb is essential for assessing the radiological risk to plant operators and appropriate sentencing of waste. Unfortunately, direct measurement of 210Pb by gamma spectrometry is hindered by its weak gamma-ray emission at 46.5 keV, which is readily attenuated by mineral matrices. This paper demonstrates the extent to which 210Pb can be underestimated during routine analysis by an inter-laboratory exercise involving five accredited laboratories and a wide range of scales from diverse industrial sources. Two methods of addressing errors in 210Pb analysis are highlighted; the first, involving lithium tetraborate fusion prior to gamma spectrometry shows promise but is not suitable for all 210Pb-containing phases. The second method, requiring calculation of matrix attenuation factors for a representative fingerprint sample, was applied successfully to deposits from the steel and gas industries. However, its wider application depends on detailed chemical and mineralogical characterisation for each of the major categories of mineral scale found and at present, there is an acute lack of suitable certified reference materials.
0003-2670
67-74
Dal Molin, F.
66c326c2-8fbd-4678-b380-c543733ce7d8
Warwick, P.E.
f2675d83-eee2-40c5-b53d-fbe437f401ef
Read, D.
74f7eb5b-cfdd-46ea-a4c4-ed0894f29530
Dal Molin, F.
66c326c2-8fbd-4678-b380-c543733ce7d8
Warwick, P.E.
f2675d83-eee2-40c5-b53d-fbe437f401ef
Read, D.
74f7eb5b-cfdd-46ea-a4c4-ed0894f29530

Dal Molin, F., Warwick, P.E. and Read, D. (2018) Under-estimation of 210 Pb in industrial radioactive scales. Analytica Chimica Acta, 1000, 67-74. (doi:10.1016/j.aca.2017.08.037).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Lead-210 (210Pb) can be present at high activity concentrations, in residues arising from the petroleum, mineral processing and chemical industries. Although 210Pb itself poses a low radiological risk, the nuclide decays via 210Bi to the alpha emitting and highly radiotoxic 210Po. Therefore, rapid, accurate determination of 210Pb is essential for assessing the radiological risk to plant operators and appropriate sentencing of waste. Unfortunately, direct measurement of 210Pb by gamma spectrometry is hindered by its weak gamma-ray emission at 46.5 keV, which is readily attenuated by mineral matrices. This paper demonstrates the extent to which 210Pb can be underestimated during routine analysis by an inter-laboratory exercise involving five accredited laboratories and a wide range of scales from diverse industrial sources. Two methods of addressing errors in 210Pb analysis are highlighted; the first, involving lithium tetraborate fusion prior to gamma spectrometry shows promise but is not suitable for all 210Pb-containing phases. The second method, requiring calculation of matrix attenuation factors for a representative fingerprint sample, was applied successfully to deposits from the steel and gas industries. However, its wider application depends on detailed chemical and mineralogical characterisation for each of the major categories of mineral scale found and at present, there is an acute lack of suitable certified reference materials.

Text ACA-17-1058_v2 - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 4 December 2018.
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Accepted/In Press date: 22 August 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 4 September 2017
Published date: 13 February 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 414095
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/414095
ISSN: 0003-2670
PURE UUID: cf6c86e1-2afa-420c-a502-f8f8e5ad2f2c

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Date deposited: 14 Sep 2017 16:31
Last modified: 13 Feb 2018 17:30

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Contributors

Author: F. Dal Molin
Author: P.E. Warwick
Author: D. Read

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