Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Environmental Engineering


Powell, Brian

Committee Member

DeVol , Timothy

Committee Member

Lee , Cindy


A rapid radiochemical method for the concentration and subsequent analysis of radionuclides from large volume aqueous samples has been developed by using solvent extraction (SX) followed by quantification via liquid scintillation counting (LSC). This was accomplished using simple radiochemical techniques that resulted in the ability to enact a 200x concentration factor and rapidly detect whether radionuclides are present in dilute aqueous samples. The proposed method has average Minimum Detectable Concentrations (MDC) for 238Pu and 233U of 3.5x10-2 Bq/L and 0.16 Bq/L, which equates to 2.3x10-16 and 2.0x10-12 mol/L, respectively. The MDC value for plutonium is an order of magnitude lower than the value set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA), which establishes a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 15 pCi/L (0.55 Bq/L) for gross alpha activity. Due to the simple nature of the procedure and relatively low cost of the analysis, this procedure is intended for use by technicians to monitor the potential presence of actinides in water treatment systems. Overall, the procedure described below will result in a 'yes'/'no' determination of the presence of plutonium in a water sample. If further analyses are warranted to determine the specific radionuclides involved or isotope ratios, back extraction of the actinides from the organic phase must be possible