Uranium Chemistry

Uranium is a frequent radiological contaminant of concern at many of the U.S. Department of Energy sites that supported uranium enrichment or the production or handling of special nuclear materials. Uranium is also found at some of the U.S. Department of Defense sites that have developed or tested depleted uranium projectiles. Government and Commercial facilities that developed nuclear materials to support the uranium fuel cycle or operated as commercial nuclear facilities also may have residual wastes that require attention.

The Materials and Chemistry Laboratory (MCLinc) has extensive expertise in uranium chemistry allowing for analytical and applied research support to activities including:

  • Industrial Hygiene Consultation and Analysis
  • Decontamination & Decommissioning Operations
  • Identification of Uranium Compounds (in Legacy Waste, etc.)
  • Determination of Physical and Chemical Properties
  • Radiochemistry Analysis
  • Safety Analysis and Bench-Scale Process Testing
  • Speciation and Mobility of Uranium in Soil
  • Treatability Studies (for Waste Management & Environmental Restoration)

MCLinc also offers the determination of levels of enrichment for Uranium. MCLinc’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for this determination (MCL-7769) is based on ASTM C1474 “Standard Test Method for Analysis of Isotopic Composition of Uranium in Nuclear-Grade Fuel Material by Quadrupole Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)”. The instrument deployed for this analysis is a PerkinElmer Sciex Elan 9000 ICP/MS. This system has demonstrated the sensitivity to determine U-234 and U-235 to U-238 ratios and weight percents in natural and enriched uranium and can also determine U-236 concentration.

MCLinc has the necessary permits and licenses to receive and process radiological and other hazardous materials. An uncontrolled copy of the MCLinc Radiological Materials License (TDEC No. R-73025-J15) is available upon request.