Separation and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometric (ICP-OES) determination of trace impurities in nuclear grade uranium oxide
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A simple and rapid inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometric method for the determination of trace level impurities like REEs, Y, Cd, Co, V, Mg, B, Ca, Cr, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn and Al in uranium oxide samples is described. The method involves solvent extraction separation of uranium from 6 M HNO3 acid medium using di (2-ethyl hexyl) phosphoric acid in toluene, which selectively separates uranium leaving behind the trace impurities in the aqueous media, for quantification by ICP-OES. The method has been applied to few synthetic samples and five certified reference U3O8 standards. The results are compared with other methods such as TBP-TOPO-CCl4 and 1,2 diaminocyclohexane N,N,N′,N′-tetra acetic acid (CyDTA)–ammonium hydroxide (NH4OH) separation techniques. Different experimental parameters like contact time, acidity, aqueous to organic ratio etc., are optimized for better and accurate results. The method is simple, rapid, accurate and precise for all the studied elements, showing a relative standard deviation of 1.5–12.0% at trace levels studied (5.5–12% at 0.2 μg/mL and 1.5–6.0% at 0.5 μg/mL), on the synthetic samples prepared from high purity oxides.
KeywordsNuclear grade uranium ICP-OES Solvent extraction Trace impurities
The authors profusely thank Shri. K. Umamaheswar, Additional Director (R&D), and Dr. Anjan Chaki, Director, AMD, Hyderabad for their constant encouragement in the R&D activities and also for the kind permission to publish these findings.
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