Envirogeochemical exploration for "NORM" wastes: quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometric measurements of thorium and uranium isotopes

ME Ketterer*, JA Jordan, SC Szechenyi, DD Hudson, RR Layman

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    Naturally occurring radioactive material consists of U-238, U-235, and Th-232 and series daughters; it is released into the environment from many anthropogenic sources. The use of quadrupole ICP-MS is well-suited to site investigations of releases of naturally occurring radioactive material through measurements of the ratios Th-232:Th-230, Th-230:U-238 and U-234:U-238. Each ratio measurement may potentially indicate the contrast between the geochemical background and the affected environment. Th-232:Th-230 was measured in samples prepared by fusion or selective extraction; Th was concentrated using TRU-Spec extraction resin and isotopic measurements were made with 5-10 mug Th. The precision is approximate to1% (2 sigma (mean)) and 10% for Th-232:Th-230 Of 1 000 and 100 000-200 000, respectively. Thorium isotopic measurements were applied to studies of accumulation of Th-230 in phosphate-fertilized lawns. The ratio Th-230: U-238 was determined via combining separate measurements of Th-230 :Th-232 and Th-232:U-235 Or Th-232:U-238; a Th-230:U-238 precision of 1-2% (2 sigma (mean)) is reported for a phosphate fertilizer sample. This Th-230:U-238 measurement scheme requires no synthetic yield tracers, and is applied to studies of deposition of U mill tailings in an affected river basin. The ratio U-234: U-238 was determined in natural waters following a two-stage extraction with Chelex 20 and UTEVA resins; a precision of approximate to0.3-0.5% (2 sigma (mean),) is attained for sample concentrates containing 15-25 mug U. U-234:U-238 measurements are useful in distinguishing between dissolved U from natural weathering versus mining/milling sources.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1569-1573
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2000
    EventWinter Conference of Plasma Spectrochemistry - Fort Lauderdale, United States
    Duration: 9 Jan 200015 Jan 2000


    • TH-230
    • TH


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