January 25, 2016

Detecting Technetium in Groundwater

Novel approach uses salt-based sensor


Technetium-99 is a long-lived radionuclide byproduct of the nuclear fuel cycle, making it a major radiological concern at nuclear waste repository sites that requires on-site monitoring. When exposed to moderately oxidizing conditions, technetium-99 is readily converted to pertechnetate—a highly soluble anion that can migrate into groundwater and the environment.

Existing methods for on-site monitoring of pertechnetate in groundwater require a complicated series of analytical steps due to low Tc selectivity and sensitivity. A new approach demonstrated by PNNL researchers uses highly selective and sensitive platinum salt to detect and quantify pertechnetate in groundwater.

The new ion recognition approach has potential for the development of a field-deployable and highly accurate sensor for monitoring pertechnetate in groundwater, river water, and watersheds. This work could have a broad impact on remediation efforts, paving the way for the development of similar salts for detection of other important environmental contaminants.

For more information, read the EMSL news.


About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science. For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Published: January 25, 2016

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