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New purification protocol for actinide measurement in excreta based on calixarene chemistry



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Dinse C, Baglan N, Cossonnet C, Bouvier C Appl Radiat Isot Jul-Aug2000 ;53(1-2):381-6


The determination of actinides concentration level in excreta, mainly urine is currently carried out to monitor people potentially exposed to alpha emitters. To measure actinides in such samples, specific analytical protocols have been set up. The chemical purification uses different chromatographic columns to selectively separate the actinides and each fraction, after electroplating, is measured by alpha spectrometry. To reach 1 mBq l(-1) of U, Pu or Am using these protocols, 6 days equally distributed between the chemical purification and the measurement are necessary. The protocol proposed here is based on a single extractant, the 1,3,5-trimethoxy-2,4,6-tricarboxy-p-tert-butylcalix[6]arene, used to selectively separate U, Pu and Am from the urinary matrix prior to be measured. Using this analytical protocol, U and Pu are quantitatively and selectively recovered in two different acidic backextraction solutions whereas Am is quantitatively and selectively recovered in the organic phase. Furthermore, the purification stage is considerably shortened. The uranium and plutonium amounts are measured in aqueous phases using alpha spectrometry or inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, whereas Am is measured in the organic phase using alpha liquid scintillation (photon/electron-rejecting alpha liquid scintillation).