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Title: Expanding the radioanalysts toolbox : using the latest generation plasma mass spectrometers for nuclear waste characterisation
Author: Russell, Benjamin C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5347 8761
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2014
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This project investigates the application of sector field inductively coupled mass spectrometry (ICP-SFMS) in low-level radionuclide detection in environmental samples and low-level nuclear waste. The aim was to develop robust and sensitive procedures for measuring medium-long lived emitters of interest to various Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) sites. ICP-SFMS has been investigated for the measurement of the significant fission product radionuclides of caesium (135Cs and 137Cs) and strontium (90Sr). In the case of some shorter-lived radionuclides such as 90Sr, ICP-SFMS can achieve sensitivities that rival existing radiometric techniques, whilst offering a significant improvement in the speed of analysis. Additionally, long-lived low abundance radionuclides such as 135Cs are not detectable using radiometric techniques, but can be quantified by ICP-SFMS, which is important given their major contribution to the long-term radiological risk associated with deep geological disposal. Measurement of 135Cs also enables measurement of the 135Cs/137Cs ratio, which varies with the source of nuclear contamination, and therefore can provide a powerful forensic tool compared to radiometric 137Cs detection alone. ICP-SFMS has been proven to achieve high sensitivities that will enable low-level radionuclide detection. In order to reach these sensitivities, it is critical to ensure removal of interfering elements that otherwise significantly impact the accuracy of measured values. This led to the development of novel and efficient chemical separation procedures that achieve both a high analyte recovery, and effective decontamination of interferences, which have been proven to be effective for a range of sample matrices including seawater and sediments. The combination of imaginative sample preparation procedures and use of new generation ICP-SFMS offer a streamlining of the process that will contribute to faster more sensitive assessment and clean-up of nuclear sites. This will lead to a reduction in analytical timescales and reduce the demand on existing analytical facilities, benefitting site operators and the NDA.
Supervisor: Croudace, Ian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available