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Nuclear Analytical Chemistry and Isotopics Laboratories


The Nuclear Analytical Chemistry and Isotopics Laboratories are part of a specialized nuclear analytical organization at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The group’s expertise is in performance of high precision elemental and isotopic determinations using mass spectrometry and high-level radiochemical counting techniques. In addition, research staff have expertise in analytical chemistry of the lanthanide and actinide elements and preparation and separation chemistries required for analytical characterizations in a wide variety of nuclear sample matrices. Our specialized facilities include capabilities that span from handling radioactive samples containing Curie levels of activity to sample preparations requiring highest-performance clean room spaces for ultra-trace analyses. Many programs across ORNL use these capabilities, and they provide novel technologies and analytical methods to support nuclear fuels research, isotope production, non-proliferation and safeguards.

Specifically, we provide leadership and expertise in four key areas of analytical chemistry:

  • Radiological and inorganic characterizations for environmental stewardship
  • Sample preparation protocols; advanced separation chemistries; and mass spectrometry measurements for high-precision elemental and isotopic nuclear characterizations in the environment (ultra-trace detections), all stages of the nuclear fuels cycle, and for isotope production
  • High-level radiological counting methodologies for nuclear fuels cycle R&D and production of transuranium isotopes
  • Ultra-sensitive neutron activation measurements

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