Internship Method development alpha emitters using alpha spectrometry and/or ICP-MS

In the monitoring program of food, feed and environmental matrices it is legally established that various alpha emitters within the WFSR, including Uranium-238 (U-238), Thorium-232 (Th-232) and Plutonium isotopes (Pu-238, Pu-239 and Pu-240) are measured in various food and feed products.

In addition to these radionuclides, there are other alpha-emitting radionuclides with high radiotoxicity. These are, for example, Ra-226 and Po-210.

Some of these radionuclides occur naturally, but can also be released during a nuclear accident. In times of a nuclear accident, it is important that WFSR investigates the activities of these nuclides in various products in a short period of time.

The analysis of Ra-226, Pb-210 and Po-210 is not yet performed according to a standard method. For Pb-210 and Po-210 a radiochemical method seems to be the most appropriate method, for Ra-226 this can also be determined using an ICP-MS analysis.

Research assignment

The research assignment consists of developing and optimizing the processing of various types of food samples using extraction chromatography, after which the analysis will take place either with alpha spectrometry or with the aid of an ICP-MS measurement.

Description of project activities

This student project consist of the following parts:

  • Literature search into the currently applied methods
  • Describe the objective and plan of action
  • Possible visit to other organizations that already carry out such measurements
  • Create an experimental set-up
  • Working on analysis methods
  • Select samples to analyze
  • Conducting analyses
  • Data analysis
  • Delivering a final report and giving a presentation

We are looking for a student who:

  • Likes to innovate and participate in new measuring & analyzing techniques
  • Is able to work well in a team, but also independently
  • Would like to broaden his/her knowledge in the field of measuring techniques that are applied in the field of radioactivity
  • Apply and expand his/her analytical skills in sample reprocessing for the analysis on the alpha spectrometry set-up and the ICP-MS