An automated analytical method implemented in a flow injection (FI) system was developed for rapid determination of 236U in 10 L seawater samples. 238U was used as a chemical yield tracer for the whole procedure, in which extraction chromatography (UTEVA) was exploited to purify uranium, after an effective iron hydroxide coprecipitation. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) was applied for quantifying the 236U/238U ratio,and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) was used to determine the absolute concentration of 238U; thus, the concentration of 236U can be calculated. The key experimental parameters affecting the analytical effectiveness were investigated and optimized in order to achieve high chemical yields and simple and rapid analysis as well as low procedure background. Besides, the operational conditions for the target preparation prior to the AMS measurement were optimized, on the basis of studying the coprecipitation behavior of uranium with iron hydroxide. The analytical results indicate that the developed method is simple and robust, providing satisfactory chemical yields (80−100%) and high analysis speed (4 h/sample), which could be an appealing alternative to conventional manual methods for 236U determination in its tracer application.
Analytical Chemistry, 2015, Vol 87, Issue 14, p. 7411-7417