Nuclear fission produces radioactive strontium isotopes. Strontium 90 is an extremely hazardous isotope. Upon ingestion it tends to concentrate in bone. Analysis of strontium involves tedious and complicated wet procedures of large samples. It is impossible to separate the isotopes of strontium, therefore strontium 90 is actually determined by measuring the amount of its daughter, yttrium 90. The final purified concentrate is beta counted using cesium 137 as the calibration standard.


Tritium is found in the environment as a result of natural cosmic rays, nuclear weapons testing, and the nuclear fuel cycle. Tritium eventually decays by beta emission to helium. Analysis consists of an alkaline permanganate distillation, mixing with a liquid scintillator, and beta counting with a liquid scintillation spectrometer.


Uranium is found in most drinking water supplies as a soluble carbonate. Uranium 238 is the primary isotope found in these waters. Standard uranium methods involve complicated wet procedures combined with ion exchange purification prior to alpha counting with a proportional counter (Barker 1965). A direct fluorescence analyzer is now commercially available, considerably simplifying this analysis.

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N.Y.: J. Wiley & Sons. Kreiger, H.L. 1976. Interim radiochemical methodology for drinking water. EPA 600-4-75-008 (Revised). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Monitoring and Support Lab. Cincinnati, Oh. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP). 1976. Environmental radiation measurements. NCRP Report No. 50. Washington, D.C.

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