210Pb and 210Po determination in environmental samples using liquid scintillation counting and alpha spectrometry

Research paper by D. Pérez Sánchez, A. Martin Sánchez, M. Jurado Vargas

Indexed on: 01 Jan '03Published on: 01 Jan '03Published in: Czechoslovak Journal of Physics


A simple radiochemical procedure has been developed to determine 210Pb and 210Po in environmental samples from the same matrix. Sediment samples are decomposed by leaching with mineral acids or by microwave digestion, while water samples are pre-concentrated. One part of the resulting solution, spiked with 209Po, is used for 210Po determination by spontaneous deposition onto nickel disks (α-spectrometry). The other part is assayed for 210Pb, separating the Pb either by anion-exchange (sediment samples), or by solvent extraction (water samples). The 210Pb source is finally prepared by precipitation as oxalate and the chemical recovery determined by gravimetry. The 210Pb activity concentration is determined by liquid scintillation. A standard sediment sample supplied by IAEA and spiked water samples were analysed to check the procedure. The 210Pb and 210Po measurements agreed well with the certifications, deviations being less than 10%. The mean recoveries for Pb and Po were (70±12)% and (77±8%) for sediments, and (70±10)% and (81±7)% for waters, respectively.