Rapid Screening of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Nuclides (238U, 232Th) in Raw Materials and By-Products Samples Using XRF

  • Park, Ji-Young (Radiation Biotechnology and Applied Radioiostope Science, University of Science & Technology) ;
  • Lim, Jong-Myoung (Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute) ;
  • Ji, Young-Yong (Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute) ;
  • Lim, Chung-Sup (Radiation Biotechnology and Applied Radioiostope Science, University of Science & Technology) ;
  • Jang, Byung-Uck (Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety) ;
  • Chung, Kun Ho (Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute) ;
  • Lee, Wanno (Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute) ;
  • Kang, Mun-Ja (Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute)
  • Received : 2016.03.14
  • Accepted : 2016.09.05
  • Published : 2016.12.31


Background: As new legislation has come into force implementing radiation safety management for the use of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), it is necessary to establish a rapid and accurate measurement technique. Measurement of $^{238}U$ and $^{232}Th$ using conventional methods encounter the most significant difficulties for pretreatment (e.g., purification, speciation, and dilution/enrichment) or require time-consuming processes. Therefore, in this study, the applicability of ED-XRF as a non-destructive and rapid screening method was validated for raw materials and by-product samples. Materials and Methods: A series of experiments was conducted to test the applicability for rapid screening of XRF measurement to determine activity of $^{238}U$ and $^{232}Th$ based on certified reference materials (e.g., soil, rock, phosphorus rock, bauxite, zircon, and coal ash) and NORM samples commercially used in Korea. Statistical methods were used to compare the analytical results of ED-XRF to those of certified values of certified reference materials (CRM) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Results and Discussion: Results of the XRF measurement for $^{238}U$ and $^{232}Th$ showed under 20% relative error and standard deviation. The results of the U-test were statistically significant except for the case of U in coal fly ash samples. In addition, analytical results of $^{238}U$ and $^{232}Th$ in the raw material and by-product samples using XRF and the analytical results of those using ICP-MS ($R^2{\geq}0.95$) were consistent with each other. Thus, the analytical results rapidly derived using ED-XRF were fairly reliable. Conclusion: Based on the validation results, it can be concluded that the ED-XRF analysis may be applied to rapid screening of radioactivities ($^{238}U$ and $^{232}Th$) in NORM samples.


Grant : Establishment of Technical Basis for Implementation on Safety Management for radiation in the Natural Environment

Supported by : Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety


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