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Radiochemical analysis of radionuclides in environmental and waste samples

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Personal profile



Xiaolin Hou is a senior radioanalytical chemist of Technical University of Denmark. He obtained his PhD degree in nuclear and radioanalytical chemistry from Chinese Academy of Science in 1997. Dr. Hou joined to Risø National Laboratory, Denmark (from 2007 Risø becomes part of Technical University of Denmark) in 1998, and has been a senior scientist there from 2003 to 2012. Since May 2013, he was employed as a professor in Center for Nuclear Technologies, Technical University of Denmark (DTU Nutech), and then since January 2020 in the Department of Environemntal Engineering, DTU. His primary research interests are Radioanalytical Chemistry, Environemntal radioectivity, environemntal process tracing, speciation analysis of radionuclides, nuclear and radioanalytical chemistry, ICP-MS and AMS. Prof. Hou has author/coauthored more than 380 research articles in peer reviewed scientific journals, among them more than 240 publications in WoS, one monograph and 8 book chapters, with a SCI h-index of 38 and citations of more than 5000.  He has supervised/co-supervised 15 PhD, 18 Master and 5 post doc, He is an associated editor of the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity.

Other information

Key Research Areas:

  • Characterisation of nuclear waste for decommissioning by radiochemical analysis. Quick determination of tritium and C-14 in graphite and concrete from nuclear facilities; Simultaneous determination of Ni-63, Fe-55, Ca-41, Sr-90 in concrete from nuclear facilities; Determination of Cl-36, I-129, Mo-93, Sn-126 and 79Se in concrete, graphite, steel, aluminium, lead, and water samples. Estimation of radioactivity inventory in the nuclear facilities. Radiological characterization of various waste from decommissiong and waste repository in collaboration with Danish Decommission, Barsebäck NPP, OKG and Loviias NPP.
  • Radioecology and Environmental trace studies.  Analysis of radionuclides in the environemntal and biological samples to investigate the dispersion, transport, deposition, reservation and transformation of radionuclides in the environment and ecoststem. To Investigate the move movement and interaction in teh ocean and dispersion of air pollution in the atmosphere using radionuclides, and to estimate the imapct of radioactive pollution to teh ecosystem and health. 
  • Radiochemcial analysis of radionuclides in the environment. Development of a series of analytical methods for determination of artifical and nature occurring radionuclides in different environemntal sampels. The researches focus on effectve and sequential separation of different elements, and sensitive measurement of different radionuclides using both radiometric and mass spectromtry methods.
  • Development of automated methods for the determination of radionuclides. Some automated separation methods have been developed by employing flow injection/sequential injection techniques and chromatographic separation techniques for rapid and automated separation of radionuclides from matrix and interfering elements and radionuclides, the established method can significantly shorten the analytical time from a few days to less than 2 hours, as well as improve the analytical capacity by automated operating the separation over night. This initiation meets the requirement for analysis of large number of environmental and waste samples in a short time.
  • Marine chemistry of iodine. Study of marine chemistry of iodine,  marine geochemical cycle of iodine,Utilization of reprocessing 129I as an oceanographic tracer to study transport of water masses in the Nordic Seas; Application of speciation analysis of 129I as an oceanographic tracer to investigation of marine geochemical cycle of stable iodine.
  • Nuclear fuel cycle. Study of the reprocessing procedure, dissolution of the spent nuclear U(Pu)O2 fuel elements, adjustment of valence of plutonium in PUREX process. Chemical process of Th based fuel.
  • Chemical speciation of radionuclides in environment. Development of method for the chemical speciation analysis of Pu, Np, Am, Tc, Re and iodine in marine and terrestrial environmental samples, such as seawater, seaweed, fish, soil, sediment, plants, and animal tissues. Investigation of chemical speciation of above radionuclides in specific environment. Project supported by Kan Villium Rasmussen Foundation (2005-2008), NKS-B project (2007-2008)
  • Chemical speciation of iodine in environmental and biological system.  ICP-MS and Epithermal neutron activation analysis of ultra-trace iodine in biological and environmental samples; Chemical speciation of iodine in seaweed, human tissue and water; dietary uptake of iodine in China; biological toxicity of different chemical species of iodine.
  • Radiolabelling of proteins for protein adsorption investigation. Labelling of proteins, polyphenol and humic substance with 125I, 131I, and 99mTc;  quantitative determination of protein adsorption on surface for the study on surface modification of polymeric biomaterials for improving biocompatibility using, plasma polymerisation, chemical vapour deposition, graft polymerisation, wet chemical grafting of natural and synthetic polymers. Project supported by Danish Research Council (2008-2010)
  • Analysis method for artificial and natural radionuclides and their application in environmental radioactivity: Development of liquid scintillation counting method for beta radionuclide measurement; a Novel method for the determination of Sr-90; Determination of Ra-226, 228 in biological samples by liquid scintillation counting.
  • Neutron activation analysis and it application. Epithermal neutron activation analysis for improvement of determination of some trace elements in biological and geological samples. Study on the relationship of trace elements with some diseases, such as respiratory system disease, senile cataract and cancer; determination of the neutron spectrum in a nuclear reactor.


International Experience:

Scientific Society membership:

  1. Member of the president board of INTERNATIONAL NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY SOCIETY (INCS),  2002-   http://incs.ege.edu.tr
  2. Nominate member of European Association for Chemical and Molecular Societies (EuCheMS) division of Nuclear and Radiochemistry, 2003- ,  http://www.euchems.org/Divisions/NRC/index.asp  

Editorial board member of scintific journals:

(1) Assocaited editor, Journal of Environmental radioactivity (https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-environmental-radioactivity/editorial-board)

(2) Scientific Reports (https://www.nature.com/srep/about/editorial-board#earthenvironment)

(3) Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry ( http://www.springer.com/chemistry/journal/10967?detailsPage=editorialBoard)

(4) International Journal of Analytical Chemistry (http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijac/editors.html)

(5) Journal of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology, (http://www.jnfcwt.or.kr/AboutUs/02.php)

Language Skills:
English, Chinese, Danish

Research areas

Environemtnal process studies using radionuclides

Environmental radioactivity and radioecology

Radiochemical analytical techniques,

Alpha-, gamma- spectrometry, and beta counting

Liquid scintillation counting

Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS),

Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES),

Accelerator mass spectrometry,

Neutron activation analysis (NAA),

Ion-, extraction-, gel- and liquid chromatography,

Environmental sampling techniques. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Nuclear Analysis, PhD, Speciation analysis of iodine in environmental and biological samples and its applications, Chinese Academy of Sciences

1 Mar 200531 Dec 2007

Award Date: 22 Dec 1997

Nuclear Chemistry Engineering, Master of Science , Adjustment of plutonium valence state in 1AF solution of the PUREX process, China Institute of Atomic Energy

1 Sep 198830 Jun 1991

Award Date: 30 Jun 1991

Chemistry, Bachelor, Northwest University China

Award Date: 30 Jun 1988

External positions

Researcher, China Institute of Atomic Energy

1 Jul 199128 Feb 1995


  • User defined:
  • Radioanalysis
  • Liquid Scintillation counting
  • Accelerator mass spectrometry
  • Actinides chemistry
  • Environmental radioactivity
  • Speciation
  • ICP-MS
  • Technetium chemistry and analysis
  • Nuclear analysis techniques
  • Radiolabeling and tracer
  • Characterisation of radioactive waste
  • Iodine-129


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