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Determination of Zirconium in Plutonium By Ion Exchange and Spectrography

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The spectrographic analysis of plutonium for impurity elements is not without difficulties due to the complex emission spectrum of plutonium and to its toxicity. Separating the plutonium from the elements of interest would reduce the spectral interference and also the health hazard. In the determination of zirconium in plutonium reported here, the plutonium was separated from zirconium by retaining the plutonium as a nitrate complex on the anion exchange resin, Dowex-1, while collecting the zirconium in the effluent and wash solution. The combined effluent and wash solutions were evaporated to a small volume and the resulting solution analyzed for zirconium by graphite spark excitation using cobalt as the internal standard. Concentrations as low as 20 ppm of zirconium in plutonium have been determined with a precision of ± 17% (95% c.l.) for a single measurement.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: General Electric Co., Richland, Washington

Publication date: February 1, 1959

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