A chromatographic separation of neptunium and protactinium using 1-octanol impregnated onto a solid phase support

Research paper by Andrew W. Knight, Andrew W. Nelson, Eric S. Eitrheim, Tori Z. Forbes, Michael K. Schultz

Indexed on: 12 May '15Published on: 12 May '15Published in: Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry


We have developed a new chromatographic method to efficiently separate and isolate neptunium (Np) and protactinium (Pa), based on the selective extraction of protactinium by primary alcohols. The effectiveness of the new technology is demonstrated by efficient separation of 233Pa from parent radionuclide 237Np, using a hydrochloric acid mobile-phase medium. Our new approach reproducibly isolated 233Pa tracer with a yield of 99 ± 1 % (n = 3; radiochemical purity 100 %) and enabled chemical recovery of 237Np parent material of 92 ± 3 % (radiochemical >99 %) for future 233Pa tracer preparations. Compared to previous methods, the new approach reduces radioactive inorganic and organic waste; simplifies the separation process by eliminating cumbersome liquid–liquid extractions; and allows isolation of radiochemically-pure fractions in less than 1 h.

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