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Abstract

A radio-analytical technique for determination of plutonium (Pu) isotopes in soil samples is tested against NIST and IAEA standard reference materials to determine its accuracy and precision for reliable results. The technique is then used in the investigation of 132 topsoil samples, collected from the natural environment of Qatar, to assess the effect of global fallout accumulation of these radionuclides in the region. Plutonium was sequentially leached form 1000 g of each soil sample using nitric and hydrochloric acids. The residual fine particles were separated by filtration and centrifuge. The solution was reduced to 1 ml by evaporation in dry oven and measured directly by CRC-ICP-MS/MS without prior chemical separation of Pu. The concentrations of 238Pu in the collected soil samples vary from < 0.026 - 0.058 fg/g (< 0.0160 - 0.0266 Bq/kg) with a mean value of 0.034 fg/g (0.0195 Bq/kg) and a median value of 0.032 fg/g (0.0195 Bq/kg). The concentrations of 239Pu fall in the range 5.67 - 166.09 fg/g (0.014 - 0.381 Bq/kg) with a mean value of 67.33 fg/g (0.154 Bq/kg) and a median value of 63.21 fg/g (0.145 Bq/kg). The concentrations of 240Pu fall in the range 1.48 - 28.21 fg/g (0.013 - 0.240 Bq/kg) with a mean value of 11.46 fg/g (0.098 Bq/kg) and a median value of 10.835 fg/g (0.093 Bq/kg). The isotopic and activity concentrations ratios of 238Pu/239Pu, 240Pu/239Pu, and 238Pu/239+240Pu can be used to identify the source. The main isotope ratios of 238Pu/239Pu in Qatari soils is (3.33 ± 1.02) x 10-4. A reported global and Chernobyl fallouts isotope ratio of 238Pu/239Pu are 1.77 x 10-4 and 4.3 x 10-3, respectively. The main isotope ratio of 240Pu/239Pu in Qatari soils is 0.1749 ± 0.0211. A reported global and Chernobyl fallouts isotope ratios of 240Pu/239Pu are 0.18-0.19 and 0.34-0.57, respectively. The average isotopic and activity ratios of 238Pu/239,240Pu in Qatari soils are (2.856 ± 0.881) x 10-4 and 0.0505 ± 0.0032, respectively. The activity ratio 238Pu/239+240Pu in releases from nuclear fuel reprocessing plants, nuclear tests, weapons grade, and Chernobyl fallout are about 0.25, 0.026, 0.014 and 0.47, respectively. Accordingly, it is difficult to identify the source, but it may be due to the contribution of more than one source. The most probable sources are both Chernobyl fallout of Pu isotopes and several decades of fallout Pu accumulation due to nuclear weapons testing. Novel Aspect New data base was established for the concentration and isotope ratios of Pu isotopes (238Pu, 239Pu, and 240Pu) in Qatar topsoil.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2014.EEPP0270
2014-11-18
2020-09-23
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