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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

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Determination of uranium concentration and isotopic composition by means of ICP-MS in sequential extracts of sediment from the vicinity of a uranium enrichment plant

Howe, Susan E. and Davidson, Christine M. and McCartney, Martin (2002) Determination of uranium concentration and isotopic composition by means of ICP-MS in sequential extracts of sediment from the vicinity of a uranium enrichment plant. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 17 (5). pp. 497-501. ISSN 0267-9477

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Abstract

A method has been developed for the determination of the U-238/U-235 isotope abundance ratio in sequential extracts of freshwater sediment by means of ICP-MS. Instrument parameters were optimised, and sample pre-treatment procedures developed, to improve the quantification of U-235. Extracts prepared according to the three-stage BCR sequential extraction protocol were passed through a 2 cm column of anion exchange resin (BioRad AG1-X8), and uranium eluted with 8 mol l(-1) HNO3 prior to analysis. The precision obtained for measurement of the U-238/U-235 ratio in solutions containing 20 ng ml(-1) U-238 and 0.2 ng ml(-1) U-235 was 0.18%. Analysis of stream sediments from the vicinity of a nuclear fuel enrichment plant revealed an enhancement in uranium levels (up to 27 mug g(-1) dry weight) which decreased with distance from the effluent discharge point. The U-238/U-235 ratios measured in sequential extracts of the stream sediments were significantly less than 100 (cf. the natural value of 137.9), confirming that Rivacre Brook is contaminated with U-235-enriched uranium. Results of the sequential extraction also suggested that uranium is discharged from the plant in, or rapidly converted to, a relatively refractory form.