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Rapid and automated separation of uranium ore concentrates for trace element analysis by inductively coupled plasma – optic...

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Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy
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The present study documents an automated approach to performing elemental analysis on a large group uranium ore concentrate (UOC) samples. Here, 17 UOC samples, 2 quality control samples, and 26 process blanks were purified sequentially through a single 500 μL Uranium and TEtra Valent Actinides (UTEVA®) column. For each sample, the trace elemental impurities were separated from its dissolved uranium matrix on the UTEVA column and collected for analysis by inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectroscopy / triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (ICP-OES/TQMS). The UTEVA column was subsequently regenerated prior to separation of the following sample. The column was efficiently regenerated, for each UOC, even after processing ~50 mg of uranium, cumulatively. The validity of the method was established by determining the trace impurities of two quality control uranium reference samples (CRM 124–1 and CUP-2). The current trace element measurements from the 17 UOC samples were compared to previously reported values from an interlaboratory comparison exercise, when available. The methodology employed here produces trace elemental analysis with excellent correlation to the previously reported data for many of the elements / samples, particularly when viewed through the context of existing geochemical comparisons tools (e.g. chondrite normalized variation plots).