Rapid separation method for actinides in emergency air filter samples.
ABSTRACT A new rapid method for the determination of actinides and strontium in air filter samples has been developed at the Savannah River Site Environmental Lab (Aiken, SC, USA) that can be used in emergency response situations. The actinides and strontium in air filter method utilizes a rapid acid digestion method and a streamlined column separation process with stacked TEVA, TRU and Sr Resin cartridges. Vacuum box technology and rapid flow rates are used to reduce analytical time. Alpha emitters are prepared using cerium fluoride microprecipitation for counting by alpha spectrometry. The purified (90)Sr fractions are mounted directly on planchets and counted by gas flow proportional counting. The method showed high chemical recoveries and effective removal of interferences. This new procedure was applied to emergency air filter samples received in the NRIP Emergency Response exercise administered by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) in April, 2009. The actinide and (90)Sr in air filter results were reported in less than 4 h with excellent quality.