Determination of the lanthanides, uranium and plutonium by means of on-line high-pressure ion chromatography coupled with sector field inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry to characterize nuclear samples

Research outputpeer-review


High-pressure ion chromatography (HPIC) was coupled with sector field inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (SF-ICP-MS) to separate plutonium (Pu), uranium (U), neodymium (Nd) and gadolinium (Gd) nuclides from isobaric nuclides and to quantify them with high sensitivity. In this study, mixed bed ion exchange columns CG5A and CS5A were used, from which Pu and U were eluted first using 1 M ni- tric acid. The lanthanides were then separated using a gradient of 0.1–0.15 M oxalic acid with the pH adjusted to 4.5. The HPIC-SF-ICP-MS method was validated using different sample matrices, i.e. spent nu- clear fuel and soil. The method was found to be repeatable and gave rise to transient signals suitable for quantification of nuclide-specific concentrations using external calibration. In terms of accuracy, the HPIC-SF-ICP-MS measurement results were in good agreement with those obtained using thermal ioniza- tion mass spectrometry (TIMS). Finally, the method provides an improvement in sample throughput ( ≤60 minutes per sample) and reduces exposure of the operator to radiation compared to off-line gravitational chromatography followed by TIMS.
Original languageEnglish
Article number460839
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
StatePublished - 26 Apr 2020

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