Award Date

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Committee Member

Ralf Sudowe

Second Committee Member

Gary Cerefice

Third Committee Member

Evelyn Bond

Fourth Committee Member

Alexander Barzilov

Number of Pages



In the aftermath of the reactor accident in Fukushima, it has become obvious that there is a severe lack in methods that would allow for the rapid determination of anthropogenic radionuclides in ocean water. Current radioanalytical techniques for the determination of radionuclides in natural waters have a number of disadvantages including the fact that they are time consuming, generate a substantial amount of waste, and are typically multi-step processes. Additionally, the elevated amount of dissolved ions in ocean water imparts a complex matrix that can interfere with the rapid separation and determination of anthropogenic radionuclides. Therefore, due to the size, complex oceanic matrix, and the residence time of certain radionuclides it is critical to investigate the isolation and rapid determination of anthropogenic radionuclides from an ocean water matrix for environmental monitoring purposes.

The work described here focuses on the study of novel radioanalytical techniques that couple extraction chromatography with radiation detection for the separation and purification of biologically relevant radionuclides from ocean water samples. As with all methods for emergency response, any procedure developed for the determination of radioisotopes in ocean water should be fast, rugged, and reliable. In addition, the radiochemical separations employed need to be capable of efficiently removing radiological and chemical interferences, so that high quality, defensible measurements can be made.

The research examined the effect of matrix constituents found within ocean water on the retention capabilities of different extraction chromatography resins for various radioisotopes of interest. The work specifically investigated the interference of sodium and calcium (two of the main constituents found within ocean water) on the adsorption of americium, plutonium, and strontium on different commercially available extraction chromatographic resins. The results from these interference studies provided a foundation that was used to develop a new proposed method/technique for the rapid determination of radionuclides in ocean water. This technique was then tested using samples taken near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Additionally, the research also focused on comparing standard procedures for radiocesium detection in ocean water to proposed procedures using two different Cesium Resins (AMP-PAN and KNiFC-PAN) developed by Triskem International. As part of the work, both Cesium Resins were characterized for solid and active component content as well as break point for cesium uptake.


Actinides; Cesium; Extraction Chromatography; Fukushima; Ocean Water; Strontium


Analytical Chemistry | Chemistry

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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