Among different measurement techniques, atomic emission optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) and mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) are the most commonly exploited techniques for trace or ultra-trace analytical determination of stable and radioactive elements, with advantages of short analytical time and multi-element detection. Over the past years, especially ICP-MS has become the technique of choice in nuclear industry, nuclear forensics, radioactive waste disposal and management, environmental monitoring, emergency preparedness and radioecology for providing accurate and precise measurements.
Proficient application of different ICP techniques requires long-term dedicated effort and experiential learning. In the selection of optimal measurement conditions, many parameters have to be carefully considered and evaluated, because any changes in single interlinked parameter will affect the sensitivity, stability, precision and accuracy of the measurement. For example, each instrumental type favors for different analytical purpose with distinct advantages and disadvantages; different sample introduction techniques could provide different nebulization efficiency, etc. In a word, to achieve ideal analytical results from ICP techniques, comprehensive knowledge and experiences on selection of a purpose-fit ICP system, instrumental components and accessories, instrumental parameter set-up and tuning, calibration method and physical maintenance are very crucial. Within the proposed activities, different ICP techniques developed and applied in the Nordic countries will be compared and a planned seminar including dedicated laboratory training will aid education and knowledge sharing for Nordic scientist to optimize the use of ICP.
The activity is planned to continue for two years:
1st year: To evaluate the performances and capacities of different types of ICP instrumentations used among the Nordic laboratories for nuclear and radiochemical analyses, an inter-comparison exercise will be performed to overview the current status of the use of ICP techniques in the Nordic countries, and the potential for use in, e.g., nuclear industry and emergency preparedness.
2nd year: To improve collaboration, communication and knowledge sharing among the Nordic countries, a joint professional seminar (named ICP-USER) will be organized, during which relevant on-going research will be presented. Future development of novel ICP technologies and related radiochemical methods will also be discussed. This seminar, which will include a 1-day laboratory training session, will aim to create a network for ICP users within the Nordic nuclear field to assure competent use of these important techniques in e.g., nuclear emergency preparedness, nuclear forensics, required assessment at Nordic nuclear or radiological installations and waste management establishment, as well as in connection with decommissioning operations.