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This paper reports an automated analytical method for rapid determination of plutonium isotopes (239Pu and 240Pu) in environmental solid extracts. Anion exchange chromatographic columns were incorporated in a sequential injection (SI) system to undertake the automated separation of plutonium from matrix and interfering elements. The analytical results most distinctly demonstrated that the crosslinkage of the anion exchanger is a key parameter controlling the separation efficiency. AG 1-×4 type resin was selected as the most suitable sorbent material for analyte separation. Investigation of column size effect upon the separation efficiency revealed that small-sized (2 mL) columns sufficed to handle up to 50 g of environmental soil samples. Under the optimum conditions, chemical yields of plutonium exceeded 90% and the decontamination factors for uranium, thorium and lead ranged from 103 to 104. The determination of plutonium isotopes in three standard/certified reference materials (IAEA-375 soil, IAEA-135 sediment and NIST-4359 seaweed) and two reference samples (Irish Sea sediment and Danish soil) revealed a good agreement with reference/certified values. The SI column-separation method is straightforward and less labor intensive as compared with batch-wise anion exchange chromatographic procedures. Besides, the automated method features low consumption of ion-exchanger and reagents for column washing and elution, with the consequent decrease in the generation of acidic waste, thus bearing green chemical credentials.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Publication date2011
Volume685
Issue2
Pages111-119
ISSN0003-2670
DOIs
StatePublished
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 2

Keywords

  • Radiation research and nuclear technologies, Radio ecology and tracers
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