Determination of radium and uranium isotopes in natural waters by sorption on hydrous manganese dioxide followed by alpha-spectrometry
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Water samples, spiked with <Superscript>133</Superscript>Ba and <Superscript>232</Superscript>U radiotracers, are scavenged for radium and uranium isotopes using hydrous manganese dioxide which is produced in-situ, by reacting manganese (+2) and permanganate ions at pH 8-9. The precipitate is solubilized with ascorbic and acetic acids and the resulting solution filtered through a glass fibre filter GF/F to remove particulate matter. The radium is co-precipitated with barium ions by the addition of a saturated Na<Subscript>2</Subscript>SO<Subscript>4</Subscript> solution where a small amount of BaSO<Subscript>4</Subscript> suspension is introduced to initiate crystallization. The micro precipitate containing the radium is collected on a 0.1 µm membrane filter and the filtrate saved for follow-up uranium analysis. The <Superscript>226</Superscript>Ra on the filter is determined by alpha-spectrometry and its recovery is assessed by measuring the <Superscript>133</Superscript>Ba on the same filter using gamma-spectrometry. The filtrate containing uranium is passed through a Dowex AG 1x4 ion-exchange resin in the SO<Subscript>4</Subscript><Superscript>2-</Superscript> form which retains uranium while other ions are eluted by dilute (0.25M) sulphuric acid. Uranium is eluted from the column by distilled water, electrodeposited on a silver disc and the uranium isotopes and their recovery are determined by alpha-spectrometry. The method was tested on a variety of natural and spiked water samples with known concentrations of <Superscript>226</Superscript>Ra and <Superscript>238</Superscript>U and was found to yield accurate results within ±10% RSD of the target values.
KeywordsUranium Radium International Atomic Energy Agency Manganese Dioxide Uranium Isotope
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