The Moscow radiochemists have developed and applied in practice new methods for analysis of transuranium elements in the environment objects. With the help of the most up-to-date techniques, they have investigated in detail the americium and plutonium migration paths in water and soils of some regions in Siberia and Southern Ural which are in particular need for such type of monitoring – in the vicinity of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Mayak” Manufacturing Company and Federal State Unitary Enterprise “GHK” (“Mining and Chemical Enterprise”) - i.e. the areas where nuclear fuel is produced and nuclear waste is utilized.
This investigation seems too specific at first sight, but in fact it refers to every inhabitant of the planet. As in the post-nuclear epoch, after all types of experimental and not only experimental explosions, radio-active waste discharge into open water bodies, technological failures and accidents at the nuclear fuel cycle enterprises, there is not a single location on the Earth which is absolutely free of transuranium elements. Apparently, there would be no such locations in the future. Therefore, Russian researchers are now actively developing new analytical methods to ensure safety of people.
The problem is that the concentration of these radionuclids in the objects of the environment are extremely low, therefore, the researchers have to literally seek individual atoms. Before chemical analysis is carried out, these elements need to be educed from water and soil and concentrated. Respective analytical methods were developed in the Radio-Chemistry Laboratory, Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences. Doctoral thesis by Alexander Novikov, who has recently withheld it successfully, is devoted to this topic.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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