228Ra and 226Ra measurement on a BaSO4 co-precipitation source

Peter Medley, Paul Martin, Andreas Bollhofer, David Parry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    One of the most commonly-used methods for determination of 226Ra, particularly in water samples, utilises co-precipitation of Ra with BaSO4, followed by microfiltration to produce a source for alpha counting. This paper describes two extensions to BaSO4 co-precipitation methods which enable determination of 228Ra using the same source. The adaptations presented here do not introduce any contaminants that will affect the separation of radium or alpha counting for 226Ra, and can be used for re-analysis of already existing sources prepared by BaSO4 co-precipitation. The first adaptation uses detection of 228Ac on the source by gamma spectrometry. The detection efficiency is high, allowing analysis of water samples at sufficiently low activity to be suitable in testing for compliance with drinking water quality standards. As 228Ac grows in quickly, taking less than 2 days to reach equilibrium with the 228Ra parent, this can also be useful in radiological emergency response situations. The second adaptation incorporates a method for the digestion of BaSO4 sources, allowing separation of thorium and subsequent determination of 228Th activity. Although ingrowth periods for 228Th can be lengthy, very low detection limits for 228Ra can be achieved with this technique. � 2014.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)200-207
    Number of pages8
    JournalApplied Radiation and Isotopes
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


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