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Isotope ratio analysis of $$^{235}$$U and $$^{238}$$U nuclide using a microwave digestion associated with ICP-MS and the large areal soil survey related to Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster

Takagai, Yoshitaka*; Furukawa, Makoto*; Nagahashi, Yoshitaka*; Takase, Tsugiko* ; Shikino, Osamu*; Kameo, Yutaka 

Isotope ratio analysis for $$^{235}$$U and $$^{238}$$U in soil samples using a microwave digestion procedure associated with ICP-MS was proposed and demonstrated. In the microwave digestion procedure, the dissolution of natural uranium in silicate (in rocks) was reduced by using a mixture of nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide (to measure the radioactive uranium from a disaster). Upon ICP-MS, the isotope ratio of the certificated geochemical reference material was realized to precisely correct the isotope ratio in real soil samples. In addition, cell-pass voltages can be available to make calibrations and/or to correct the mass bias in the mass-spectrometer. By these effects, the isotope ration of uranium can be measured with an accuracy of 0.37% without using a radioactive standard source. $$^{235}$$U and $$^{238}$$U were quantitatively determined, and those detection limits were both 0.010 $$mu$$g/kg. In the case of an emergency, like a nuclear hazard, the proposed method is useful to immediately gather a large amount of information in large area as compared with a common method such as a complete dissolution process associated with an $$alpha$$-ray spectrometer or ICP-MS. In addition, the survey of how radioactive uranium spreads was conducted from 7 to 80 km around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Fukushima-DNPP) (115 points in Fukushima prefecture). As a result, the values of the uranium isotope ratio for those soils were similar to the natural abundance, although the various concentrations of uranium were detected from sampling points.

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