Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry

, Volume 298, Issue 3, pp 1977–1989 | Cite as

Rapid determination of 210Po in water samples

  • Sherrod L. MaxwellEmail author
  • Brian K. Culligan
  • Jay B. Hutchison
  • Robin C. Utsey
  • Daniel R. McAlister


A new rapid method for the determination of 210Po in water samples has been developed at the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) that can be used for emergency response or routine water analyses. If a radiological dispersive device event or a radiological attack associated with drinking water supplies occurs, there will be an urgent need for rapid analyses of water samples, including drinking water, ground water and other water effluents. Current analytical methods for the assay of 210Po in water samples have typically involved spontaneous auto-deposition of 210Po onto silver or other metal disks followed by counting by alpha spectrometry. The auto-deposition times range from 90 min to 24 h or more, at times with yields that may be less than desirable. If sample interferences are present, decreased yields and degraded alpha spectrums can occur due to unpredictable thickening in the deposited layer. Separation methods have focused on the use of Sr Resin™, often in combination with 210Pb analysis. A new rapid method for 210Po in water samples has been developed at the SRNL that utilizes a rapid calcium phosphate co-precipitation method, separation using DGA Resin® (N,N,N′,N′ tetraoctyldiglycolamide extractant-coated resin, Eichrom Technologies or Triskem-International), followed by rapid microprecipitation of 210Po using bismuth phosphate for counting by alpha spectrometry. This new method can be performed quickly with excellent removal of interferences, high chemical yields and very good alpha peak resolution, eliminating any potential problems with the alpha source preparation for emergency or routine samples. A rapid sequential separation method to separate 210Po and actinide isotopes was also developed. This new approach, rapid separation with DGA resin plus microprecipitation for alpha source preparation, is a significant advance in radiochemistry for the rapid determination of 210Po.


210Po Water Rapid Separation Emergency Actinides Microprecipitation Alpha spectrometry Well water 



This work was performed under the auspices of the Department of Energy, DOE Contract No. DE-AC09-96SR18500. The authors wish to acknowledge Rebecca Chavous, Jack Herrington and Staci Britt for their assistance with this work, as well as Dr. Dave Diprete of SRNL for providing the 210Po standard used in this work. The work by Dr. Dan McAlister at PG Research Foundation is very much appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherrod L. Maxwell
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brian K. Culligan
    • 1
  • Jay B. Hutchison
    • 1
  • Robin C. Utsey
    • 1
  • Daniel R. McAlister
    • 2
  1. 1.Savannah River National LaboratoryAikenUSA
  2. 2.PG Research Foundation, Inc.LisleUSA

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