Due to the high radiation toxicity, alpha emitting radionuclides are important in the view of radiation protection in the nuclear facilities and environment. Among them, plutonium isotopes (238Pu, 239Pu, 240Pu), 241Am and curium isotopes (242Cm, 243Cm, 244Cm) are the most important ones in the monitoring the leakage and discharges/emission in nuclear power plants, decommissioning and radiological emergency preparedness. An accurate determination of these radionuclides in industrial and environmental samples is essential for assessment of these behaviors, potential hazards and suitable countermeasures in the case of leakage of nuclear fuel in NPPs, accident, authorized release and environmental surveillance. Various chemical separation and measurement methods for the determination of alpha emitters are used in the Nordic labs of NPPs?institutes, universities and radiation safety authorities. Validation, optimization and harmonization of these methods are not well performed, reliable and robust analytical method for simultaneous determination of all these radionuclides is not well applied in Nordic labs.
This project aims to improve the analytical quality and enhance the competence of the Nordic laboratories for radiochemical analysis of alpha emitting nuclides. The objectives of this project are: (1) to access difference and suitability of the separation and measurement methods used in participating labs for determination of isotopes of Pu, Am and Cm, identifying and discussing on the problems found in each laboratory during their routine analysis; (2) to evaluate and validate the analytical method for determination of isotopes of Pu, Am and Cm by organizing an inter-comparison exercise on analysis of two types of samples, spiked environmental sample and real reactor process water sample, including the sample pre-treatment, radiochemical separation, target preparation, alpha spectrometry analysis, standard and isotope tracers, mass spectrometry measurement; (3) to evaluate and optimize an analytical procedure for sequential separation of plutonium, americium and curium for measurement of 238Pu, 239Pu, 240Pu, 241Am, 242Cm, 243Cm and 244Cm using alpha spectrometry and/or ICP-MS.
A summarization and assessment of the radiochemical analytical methods for determination of isotopes of Pu, Am and Cm in Nordic laboratories, the results of inter-laboratory comparison exercises, evaluation of the analytical results in this inter-comparison exercises will be presented in the final report, including the problem, drawbacks and reliability of each methods. Meanwhile, an optimized analytical method for sequential separation of Pu, Am Cm and simultaneous determination of isotopes of these elements will be presented.
These activities will also strengthen the collaboration among Nordic labs involved in the determination of alpha emitters in nuclear process, waste and environmental samples, meanwhile, it will maintain and improve the Nordic competence in radiochemical analyses