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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 95-100

A rapid radio-bioassay method for strontium estimation in nuclear/radiological emergencies

Radiation Safety Systems Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Pramilla D Sawant
Radiation Safety Systems Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai 400 085, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-0464.147288

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Strontium (Sr) is a by-product of the nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium in nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons. It is an important radionuclide in spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and is considered as one of the most hazardous constituents of nuclear wastes. Also during a nuclear/radiological emergency, workers as well as members of the public may get internally contaminated with Sr. Hence, a truly rapid radio-bioassay method will be needed to screen a large number of people for assessment of internal contamination and facilitate decision making on subsequent medical intervention. The current precipitation method used at Bioassay Lab., BARC, Trombay is quite lengthy and laborious. Efforts are being made to optimize bioassay methods at BARC using solid extraction chromatography (SEC) technique for emergency response. The present work reports standardization of SEC using Sr-Spec (Sr-Specific, make Eichrom Technologies, Darien, Illinois, USA) resin for rapid estimation of Sr in urine samples. Adsorbed Sr is eluted from the resin using 0.05M HNO 3 , precipitated as carbonate and estimated using a low background gas flow Geiger-Müller counter (make ECIL, Hyderabad, India). The average recovery of stable Sr is ~80% and comparable to radioactive recovery observed in spiked samples. The minimum detectable activity (MDA) achieved by this technique is ~4 mBq/mL for 90 Sr that is well below the required generic emergency action level of 19 Bq for 20 mL urine sample. The advantage of this method is its simplicity, fast turnaround time and an increase in the sample throughput.

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